Structure and Composition of Native Membrane Derived Polymer-Supported Lipid Bilayers
Journal article, 2018
Over the last two decades, supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) have been extensively used as model systems to study cell membrane structure and function. While SLBs have been traditionally produced from simple lipid mixtures, there has been a recent surge in compositional complexity to better mimic cellular membranes and thereby bridge the gap between classic biophysical approaches and cell experiments. To this end, native cellular membrane derived SLBs (nSLBs) have emerged as a new category of SLBs. As a new type of biomimetic material, an analytical workflow must be designed to characterize its molecular composition and structure. Herein, we demonstrate how a combination of fluorescence microscopy, neutron reflectometry, and secondary ion mass spectrometry offers new insights on structure, composition, and quality of nSLB systems formed using so-called hybrid vesicles, which are a mixture of native membrane material and synthetic lipids. With this approach, we demonstrate that the nSLB formed a continuous structure with complete mixing of the synthetic and native membrane components and a molecular stoichiometry that essentially mirrors that of the hybrid vesicles. Furthermore, structural investigation of the nSLB revealed that PEGylated lipids do not significantly thicken the hydration layer between the bilayer and substrate when on silicon substrates; however, nSLBs do have more topology than their simpler, purely synthetic counterparts. Beyond new insights regarding the structure and composition of nSLB systems, this work also serves to guide future researchers in producing and characterizing nSLBs from their cellular membrane of choice.