How lipid membranes meet chip technology

Published on May 7, 2014

In this video, we will show you how we produce functional lipid bilayers that mimic biological membranes and allow for the investigation of membrane-confined processes such as they occur in neurotransmission, endo- and exocytosis.

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To mimic the structure and function of a biological membrane, we make use of highly ordered pore arrays in silicon chips and generate so-called pore-spanning membranes. Such membranes enable us to control and adjust parameters like lipid composition and the membrane’s mechanical properties. Proteins participating in the membrane-confined processes can be isolated and reconstituted into these pore-spanning membranes. This reconstitution allows us to address fundamental biological questions on a molecular level.

Steinem Group | University of Göttingen, Germany

Claudia Steinem, Professor for Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of Göttingen, got trained in Biology and Chemistry. Before she came to Göttingen in 2006, she was professor for Bioanalytics at the University of Regensburg. Her main research focuses on the development and application of model membrane systems for the investigation of membrane-confined processes.

Jan Kuhlman is a PhD student, who studies the mechanical properties of pore-spanning membranes using the atomic force microscope.

Benjamin Gerdes is a PhD student since 2013 and he is currently working on the isolation and functional reconstitution of the Hv1 proton channel in model membranes.

Raphael Hubrich, also a PhD student in Claudia Steinem’s group, investigates the SNARE-mediated fusion of lipid bilayers using pore-spanning membranes.

Within his PhD project, Martin Gleisner studies the protein-induced fission of lipid bilayers using a recently developed three-dimensional chip-based membrane system.

Annika Bartsch, PhD student since end of 2013, is interested in bacterial ion channels permeabilizing membranes in a controlled fashion.

A related research article is published in the Open Access Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology:

Lazzara, T.D.; Aaron Lau, K.H.; Knoll, W.; Janshoff, A.; Steinem, C.: “Macromolecular shape and interactions in layer-by-layer assemblies within cylindrical nanopores”, Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 2012, 3, 475-484, doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.54.

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