A versatile approach to the generation of fluid supported lipid bilayers and its applications
Establishing supported lipid bilayers with biologically relevant composition, including transmembrane proteins and various classes of lipids, presents a significant challenge. We describe a generic and facile approach to the production of fluid polymer-supported lipid bilayers that allows for the incorporation of a wide variety of lipids and transmembrane proteins. The method is based on the formation of a polymer brush displaying lipid groups, followed by spin-coating of membrane lipids. Subsequentially, transmembrane proteins are incorporated by the fusion of proteoliposomes with the bilayer. Several applications, including the incorporation and single-molecule tracking of transmembrane proteins in a bilayer and the visualization of the fusion of individual, membrane-enveloped viruses with a supported membrane, are demonstrated. Our results suggest that the membrane properties are consistent with those found in physiologically relevant conditions and underscore the wide applicability of our approach to synthetic biology, lab-on-a-chip applications, biophysical and pharmaceutical studies.