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Langmuir. 2010 Apr 6;26(7):4635-8. doi: 10.1021/la100583f.

Single-step process to reconstitute cell membranes on solid supports.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


A new technique is presented to create supported lipid bilayers from whole cell lipids without the use of detergent or solvent extraction. In a modification of the bubble collapse deposition (BCD) technique, an air bubble is created underwater and brought into contact with a population of cells. The high-energy air/water interface extracts the lipid component of the cell membrane, which can subsequently be redeposited as a fluid bilayer on another substrate. The resulting bilayers were characterized with fluorescence microscopy, and it was found that both leaflets of the cell membrane are transferred but the cytoskeleton is not. The resulting supported bilayer was fluid over an area much larger than a single cell, demonstrating the capacity to create large, continuous bilayer samples. This capability to create fluid, biologically relevant bilayers will facilitate the use of high-resolution scanning microscopy techniques in the study of membrane-related processes.

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