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Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev. 2010;27:185-216.

Advances in nanopatterned and nanostructured supported lipid membranes and their applications.

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  • 1Department for Materials Science, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Swizerland.


Lipid membranes are versatile and convenient alternatives to study the properties of natural cell membranes. Self-assembled, artificial, substrate-supported lipid membranes have taken a central role in membrane research due to a combination of factors such as ease of creation, control over complexity, stability and the applicability of a large range of different analytical techniques. While supported lipid bilayers have been investigated for several decades, recent advances in the understanding of the assembly of such membranes from liposomes have spawned a renaissance in the field. Supported lipid bilayers are a highly promising tool to study transmembrane proteins in their native state, an application that could have tremendous impact on, e.g. drug discovery, development of biointerfaces and as platforms for glycomics and probing of multivalent binding which requires ligand mobility. Parallel advances in microfluidics, biosensor design, micro- and nanofabrication have converged to bring self-assembled supported lipid bilayers closer to a versatile and easy to use research tool as well as closer to industrial applications. The field of supported lipid bilayer research and application is thus rapidly expanding and diversifying with new platforms continuously being proposed and developed. In order to use supported lipid bilayers for such applications several advances have to be made: decoupling of the membrane from the support while maintaining it close to the surface, making use of biologically relevant lipid compositions, patterning of lipid membranes into arrays, and application to nanostructured substrates and sensors. This review summarizes recent advances in the field which addresses these challenges.

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