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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Nov 14;134(45):18631-7. doi: 10.1021/ja304721r. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

High-density reconstitution of functional water channels into vesicular and planar block copolymer membranes.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States.


The exquisite selectivity and unique transport properties of membrane proteins can be harnessed for a variety of engineering and biomedical applications if suitable membranes can be produced. Amphiphilic block copolymers (BCPs), developed as stable lipid analogs, form membranes that functionally incorporate membrane proteins and are ideal for such applications. While high protein density and planar membrane morphology are most desirable, BCP-membrane protein aggregates have so far been limited to low protein densities in either vesicular or bilayer morphologies. Here, we used dialysis to reproducibly form planar and vesicular BCP membranes with a high density of reconstituted aquaporin-0 (AQP0) water channels. We show that AQP0 retains its biological activity when incorporated at high density in BCP membranes, and that the morphology of the BCP-protein aggregates can be controlled by adjusting the amount of incorporated AQP0. We also show that BCPs can be used to form two-dimensional crystals of AQP0.

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