Effect of Support Corrugation on Silica Xerogel−Supported Phase-Separated Lipid Bilayers
Lipid bilayers supported by substrates with nanometer-scale surface corrugations hold interest in understanding both nanoparticle-membrane interactions and the challenges of constructing models of cell membranes on surfaces with desirable properties, e.g., porosity. Here, we successfully form a two-phase (gel-fluid) lipid bilayer supported by nanoporous silica xerogel. Surface topology, lateral diffusion coefficient, and lipid density in comparison to mica-supported lipid bilayers were characterized by atomic force microscopy, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), and quantitative fluorescence microscopy, respectively. We found that the two-phase lipid bilayer follows the silica xerogel surface contours. The corrugation imparted on the lipid bilayer results in a lipid density that is twice that on a flat mica surface in the fluid regions. In direct agreement with the doubling of actual bilayer area in a projected area, we find that the lateral diffusion coefficient (D) of fluid lipids on silica xerogel (approximately 1.7 microm2/s) is lower than on mica (approximately 3.9 microm2/s) by both FRAP and FCS techniques. Furthermore, the gel-phase domains on silica xerogel compared to mica were larger and less numerous. Overall, our results suggest the presence of a relatively defect-free continuous two-phase lipid bilayer that penetrates approximately midway into the first layer of approximately 50 nm silica xerogel beads.
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