American Chemical Society
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Nanofluidic Model Membrane for the Single-Molecule Observation of Membrane Proteins

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posted on 2022-06-01, 02:29 authored by Ryota Komatsu, Yasushi Tanimoto, Koji Ando, Kazuma Yasuhara, Yasuhiko Iwasaki, Fumio Hayashi, Kenichi Morigaki
Membrane proteins play essential roles in the cell, and they constitute one of the most important targets of drugs. Studying membrane proteins in a controlled model membrane environment can provide unambiguous, quantitative information on their molecular properties and functions. However, reconstituting membrane proteins in a model system poses formidable technological challenges. Here, we developed a novel model membrane platform for highly sensitive observation of membrane proteins by combining a micropatterned lipid membrane and a nanofluidic channel. A micropatterned model membrane was generated by lithographically integrating a polymerized lipid bilayer and a natural (fluid) lipid bilayer. A nanofluidic channel having a defined thickness was formed between the fluid bilayer and a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) slab by attaching the polymeric bilayer and PDMS slab using an adhesion layer composed of silica nanoparticles that are coated with a biocompatible polymer brush. As we reconstituted rhodopsin (Rh), a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), from a detergent-solubilized state into the fluid bilayer, only successfully reconstituted Rh molecules diffused laterally in the lipid bilayer and migrated into the nanogap junction, where they could be observed with a vastly improved signal-to-background ratio. The nanogap junction effectively separates the sites of reconstitution and observation and provides a novel platform for studying the molecular properties and functions of membrane proteins at the single-molecular level.