Functional Tethered Bilayer Membranes

Ingo Köper, V. Atanasov, N. Knorr, P. Atanasova, I. Vockenroth, and Wolfgang Knoll

Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, D-55128 Mainz, Germany




Tethered lipid bilayer membranes have been proven to be an interesting architecture for the study of membrane protein in an artificial, but quasi-natural environment. Based on a lipid bilayer membrane, coupled via a spacer group to a solid substrate they provide not only excellent stability but also the necessary conditions for functional incorporation of membrane proteins, especially fluidity and high electrical resistance. We could synthesize several lipids, which allow the construction of membrane architecture both on gold as well on silicon surfaces and provide good electrical properties (especially high resistance). Functional incorporation of membrane proteins has been demonstrated. By variation of the anchor group, we have a generic model for all kinds of substrates. Modification of the spacer architecture allows the adaptation of the system to different membrane proteins. This construction kit offers now the possibility to combine directly microelectronic read-out systems with a biological compound.