Lithographically-defined macroscale modulation of lateral fluidity and phase separation realized via patterned nanoporous silica supported phospholipid bilayers


Eric L. Kendall, Viviane N. Ngassam, Sean F. Gilmore, C. Jeff Brinker, and Atul N. Parikh, Journal of the American Chemical Society (communication) 135,15718–15721, 2013

Using lithographically defined surfaces consisting of hydrophilic patterns of nanoporous and nonporous (bulk) amorphous silica, we show that fusion of small, unilamellar lipid vesicles produces a single, contiguous, fluid bilayer phase experiencing a predetermined pattern of interfacial interactions. Although long-range lateral fluidity of the bilayer, characterized by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, indicates a nominally single average diffusion constant, fluorescence microscopy-based measurements of temperature-dependent onset of fluidity reveals a locally enhanced fluidity for bilayer regions supported on nanoporous silica in the vicinity of the fluid–gel transition temperature. Furthermore, thermally quenching lipid bilayers composed of a binary lipid mixture below its apparent miscibility transition temperature induces qualitatively different lateral phase separation in each region of the supported bilayer: The nanoporous substrate produces large, microscopic domains (and domain-aggregates), whereas surface texture characterized by much smaller domains and devoid of any domain-aggregates appears on bulk glass-supported regions of the single-lipid bilayer. Interestingly, lateral distribution of the constituent molecules also reveals an enrichment of gel-phase lipids over nanoporous regions, presumably as a consequence of differential mobilities of constituent lipids across the topographic bulk/nanoporous boundary. Together, these results reveal that subtle local variations in constraints imposed at the bilayer interface, such as by spatial variations in roughness and substrate adhesion, can give rise to significant differences in macroscale biophysical properties of phospholipid bilayers even within a single, contiguous phase.

DOI: 10.1021/ja408434r