Supported Bilayers for Membrane Proteins

Lipid bilayer diagram
Recordings of voltage-gated channel activities from bSUMs

We constructed a new bilayer system that allows the insertion of ~1 million channels into a 20-micron bead-supported bilayer membrane. Using a Kv channel, we were able to record macroscopic currents from patches that are either ~1-2 microns or ~10 microns in diameter. The gating behavior of the channels can then be studied in membranes that mimic the lipid composition of eukaryotic membranes.

The success of this method provides the opportunities for two new developments:

  • Making large planar bilayers.
  • Incorporating other membrane proteins and their associated factors to reconstitute cellular processes around the beads.