Templating Membrane Assembly, Structure, and Dynamics Using Engineered Interfaces


Ann E. Oliver, Atul N. Parikh Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes 1798, 839-850, 2010

The physical and chemical properties of biological membranes are intimately linked to their bounding aqueous interfaces. Supported phospholipid bilayers, obtained by surface-assisted rupture, fusion, and spreading of vesicular microphases, offer a unique opportunity, because engineering the substrate allows manipulation of one of the two bilayer interfaces as well. Here, we review a collection of recent efforts, which illustrates deliberate substrate–membrane coupling using structured surfaces exhibiting chemical and topographic patterns. Vesicle fusion on chemically patterned substrates results in co-existing lipid phases, which reflect the underlying pattern of surface energy and wettability. These co-existing bilayer/monolayer morphologies are useful both for fundamental biophysical studies (e.g., studies of membrane asymmetry) as well as for applied work, such as synthesizing large-scale arrays of bilayers or living cells. The use of patterned, static surfaces provides new models to design complex membrane topographies and curvatures. Dynamic switchable-topography surfaces and sacrificial trehalose based-substrates reveal abilities to dynamically introduce membrane curvature and change the nature of the membrane–substrate interface. Taken together, these studies illustrate the importance of controlling interfaces in devising model membrane platforms for fundamental biophysical studies and bioanalytical devices.