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Two-Phase Contiguous Supported Lipid Bilayer Model for Membrane Rafts via Polymer Blotting and Stenciling.

Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids (2017-01-18)
Mark J Richards, Susan Daniel
ABSTRACT

The supported lipid bilayer has been portrayed as a useful model of the cell membrane compatible with many biophysical tools and techniques that demonstrate its appeal in learning about the basic features of the plasma membrane. However, some of its potential has yet to be realized, particularly in the area of bilayer patterning and phase/composition heterogeneity. In this work, we generate contiguous bilayer patterns as a model system that captures the general features of membrane domains and lipid rafts. Micropatterned polymer templates of two types are investigated for generating patterned bilayer formation: polymer blotting and polymer lift-off stenciling. While these approaches have been used previously to create bilayer arrays by corralling bilayers patches with various types of boundaries impenetrable to bilayer diffusion, unique to the methods presented here, there are no physical barriers to diffusion. In this work, interfaces between contiguous lipid phases define the pattern shapes, with continuity between them allowing transfer of membrane-bound biomolecules between the phases. We examine effectors of membrane domain stability including temperature and cholesterol content to investigate domain dynamics. Contiguous patterning of supported bilayers as a model of lipid rafts expands the application of the SLB to an area with current appeal and brings with it a useful toolset for characterization and analysis. These combined tools should be helpful to researchers investigating lipid raft dynamics and function and biomolecule partitioning studies. Additionally, this patterning technique may be useful for applications such as bioseparations that exploit differences in lipid phase partitioning or creation of membranes that bind species like viruses preferentially at lipid phase boundaries, to name a few.