Double cushions preserve transmembrane protein mobility in supported bilayer systems

Arnaldo J. Diaz, Fernando Albertorio, Susan Daniel, Paul S. Cremer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) have been widely used as model systems to study cell membrane processes because they preserve the same 2D membrane fluidity found in living cells. One of the most significant limitations of this platform, however, is its inability to incorporate mobile transmembrane species. It is often postulated that transmembrane proteins reconstituted in SLBs lose their mobility because of direct interactions between the protein and the underlying substrate. Herein, we demonstrate a highly mobile fraction for a transmembrane protein, annexin V. Our strategy involves supporting the lipid bilayer on a double cushion, where we not only create a large space to accommodate the transmembrane portion of the macromolecule but also passivate the underlying substrate to reduce nonspecific protein-substrate interactions. The thickness of the confined water layer can be tuned by fusing vesicles containing polyethyleneglycol (PEG)-conjugated lipids of various molecular weights to a glass substrate that has first been passivated with a sacrificial layer of bovine serum albumin (BSA). The 2D fluidity of these systems was characterized by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) measurements. Uniform, mobile phospholipid bilayers with lipid diffusion coefficients of around 3 × 10-8 cm2/s and percent mobile fractions of over 95% were obtained. Moreover, we obtained annexin V diffusion coefficients that were also around 3 × 10-8 cm2/s with mobile fractions of up to 75%. This represents a significant improvement over bilayer platforms fabricated directly on glass or using single cushion strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6820-6826
Number of pages7
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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