Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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Open Access

Biosensors based on release of compounds upon disruption of lipid bilayers supported on porous microspheres

  • Menake E. Piyasena1, 2,
  • Reema Zeineldin3, 4,
  • Kyle Fenton3,
  • Tione Buranda5 and
  • Gabriel P. Lopez3

Received: 19 February 2008

Accepted: 1 April 2008


The authors describe a biosensing concept based on the release of compounds, which are encapsulated within lipid-coated porous silica microspheres, by detergents and toxins that disrupt supported lipid bilayers SLBs on the microspheres. Suspension and microfluidic based methods have been developed to monitor the release of the encapsulated compounds in response to membrane disruption. The authors established that the SLBs on porous microspheres can endure experimental conditions necessary for their incorporation into packed microchannels while maintaining the bilayer integrity and functionality. Model compounds including a nonionic detergent Triton X-100, a membrane active protein (α-hemolysin, and a membrane lytic antimicrobial peptide melittin were successfully utilized to interact with different formulations of SLBs on porous silica microspheres. The results demonstrate the stability of the SLBs on the microspheres for several weeks, and the feasibility of using this system to detect the release of fluorescent dyes as well as other molecular reporters. The latter were detected by their involvement in subsequent biospecific interactions that were detected by fluorescence. This study exemplifies proof of concept for developing new chemical and biochemical sensors and drug delivery systems based on the disruption of lipid membranes coating porous silica microspheres that encapsulate dyes or bioactive compounds.