Engineering plant membranes using droplet interface bilayers

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Title: Engineering plant membranes using droplet interface bilayers
Authors: Barlow, NE
Smpokou, E
Friddin, MS
Macey, R
Gould, I
Turnbull, C
Flemming, AJ
Brooks, NJ
Ces, O
Barter, LMC
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Droplet interface bilayers (DIBs) have become widely recognised as a robust platform for constructing model membranes and are emerging as a key technology for the bottom-up assembly of synthetic cell-like and tissue-like structures. DIBs are formed when lipid-monolayer coated water droplets are brought together inside a well of oil, which is excluded from the interface as the DIB forms. The unique features of the system, compared to traditional approaches (e.g., supported lipid bilayers, black lipid membranes, and liposomes), is the ability to engineer multi-layered bilayer networks by connecting multiple droplets together in 3D, and the capability to impart bilayer asymmetry freely within these droplet architectures by supplying droplets with different lipids. Yet despite these achievements, one potential limitation of the technology is that DIBs formed from biologically relevant components have not been well studied. This could limit the reach of the platform to biological systems where bilayer composition and asymmetry are understood to play a key role. Herein, we address this issue by reporting the assembly of asymmetric DIBs designed to replicate the plasma membrane compositions of three different plant species; Arabidopsis thaliana, tobacco, and oats, by engineering vesicles with different amounts of plant phospholipids, sterols and cerebrosides for the first time. We show that vesicles made from our plant lipid formulations are stable and can be used to assemble asymmetric plant DIBs. We verify this using a bilayer permeation assay, from which we extract values for absolute effective bilayer permeation and bilayer stability. Our results confirm that stable DIBs can be assembled from our plant membrane mimics and could lead to new approaches for assembling model systems to study membrane translocation and to screen new agrochemicals in plants.
Issue Date: 23-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance: 8-Mar-2017
ISSN: 1932-1058
Publisher: AIP Publishing
Journal / Book Title: Biomicrofluidics
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Biochemical Research Methods
Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
Physics, Fluids & Plasmas
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Science & Technology - Other Topics
0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering
1007 Nanotechnology
0203 Classical Physics
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 024107
Appears in Collections:Chemistry
Biological and Biophysical Chemistry
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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