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Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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Black lipid membranes stabilized through substrate conjugation to a hydrogel

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Recent research in stabilizing lipid bilayer membranes has been directed toward tethering the membrane to a solid surface or contacting the membrane with a solid support such as a gel. It is also known that the solvent annulus plays an important role in lipid bilayer stability. In this work, the authors set out to stabilize the solvent annulus. Glass substrates with 500 μm apertures were functionalized with 3-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane to allow cross-linking with a surrounding polyethyleneglycol dimethacrylate hydrogel. The hydrogel makes a conformal mold around both the lipid bilayer and the solvent reservoir. Since the hydrogel is covalently conjugated with the glass substrate via vinyl groups, the solvent annulus is prevented from leaving the aperture boundary. Measurements of a membrane created with this approach showed that it remained a stable bilayer with a resistance greater than 1 GΩ( for 12 days. Measurements of the ion channel gramicidin A, α-hemolysin, and alamethicin incorporated into these membranes showed the same conductance behavior as conventional membranes.


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Correspondence to Jacob J. Schmidt.

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