Journal of the American Chemical Society

Measuring the partitioning kinetics of membrane biomolecules using patterned two-phase coexistant lipid bilayers.

PMID 21848257


We report a new method for measuring the partitioning kinetics of membrane biomolecules to different lipid phases using a patterned supported lipid bilayer (SLB) platform composed of liquid-ordered (lipid raft) and liquid-disordered (unsaturated lipid-rich) coexistent phases. This new approach removes the challenges in measuring partitioning kinetics using current in vitro methods due to their lack of spatial and temporal control of where phase separation occurs and when target biomolecules meet those phases. The laminar flow configuration inside a microfluidic channel allows us to pattern SLBs with coexistent phases in predetermined locations and thus eliminates the need for additional components to label the phases. Using a hydrodynamic force provided by the bulk flow in the microchannel, target membrane-bound species to be assayed can be transported in the bilayers. The predefined location of stably coexistent phases, in addition to the controllable movement of the target species, allows us to control and monitor when and where the target molecules approach or leave different lipid phases. Using this approach with appropriate experimental designs, we obtain the association and dissociation kinetic parameters for three membrane-bound species, including the glycolipid G(M1), an important cell signaling molecule. We examine two different versions of G(M1) and conclude that structural differences between them impact the kinetics of association of these molecules to raft-like phases. We also discuss the possibilities and limitations for this method. One possible extension is measuring the partitioning kinetics of other glycolipids or lipid-linked proteins with posttranslational modifications to provide insight into how structural factors, membrane compositions, and environmental factors influence dynamic partitioning.

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1,2-Dipalmitoyl-rac-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine, synthetic, ≥98%