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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1778(11):2461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2008.07.012. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Characterizing the chemical complexity of patterned biomimetic membranes.

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Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Biomembranes are complex, heterogeneous, dynamic systems playing essential roles in numerous processes such as cell signaling and membrane trafficking. Model membranes provide simpler platforms for studying biomembrane dynamics under well-controlled environments. Here we present a modified polymer lift-off approach to introduce chemical complexity into biomimetic membranes by constructing domains of one lipid composition (here, didodecylphosphatidylcholine) that are surrounded by a different lipid composition (e.g., dipentadecylphosphatidylcholine), which we refer to as patterned backfilled samples. Fluorescence microscopy and correlation spectroscopy were used to characterize this patterning approach. We observe two types of domain populations: one with diffuse boundaries and a minor fraction with sharp edges. Lipids within the diffuse domains in patterned backfilled samples undergo anomalous diffusion, which results from nonideally mixed clusters of gel phase lipid within the fluid domains. No lateral diffusion was observed within the minor population of domains with well-defined borders. These results suggest that, while membrane patterning by a variety of approaches is useful for biophysical and biosensor applications, a thorough and systematic characterization of the resulting biomimetic membrane, and its unpatterned counterpart, is essential.

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