Solid supported lipid bilayers are rapidly delaminated when drawn through the air/water interface. We have discovered that a close packed monolayer of specifically bound protein prevents this process. The protection mechanism worked in two ways. First, when protein-protected bilayers were drawn through the air/water interface, a thin bulk water layer was visible over the entire bilayer region, thereby preventing air from contacting the surface. Second, a stream of nitrogen was used to remove all bulk water from a protected bilayer, which remained fully intact as determined by fluorescence microscopy. The condition of this dried bilayer was further probed by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. It was found that lipids were not two-dimensionally mobile in dry air. However, when the bilayer was placed in a humid environment, 91% of the bleached fluorescence signal was recovered, indicating long-range two-dimensional mobility. The diffusion coefficient of lipids under humid conditions was an order of magnitude slower than the same bilayer under water. Protected bilayers could be rehydrated after drying, and their characteristic diffusion coefficient was reestablished. Insights into the mechanism of bilayer preservation were suggested.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry