Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28958150
Biointerphases 2017 Sep;12(4):04E301
Biological membranes and their related molecular mechanisms are essential for all living organisms. Membranes host numerous proteins and are responsible for the exchange of molecules and ions, cell signaling, and cell compartmentation. Indeed, the plasma membrane delimits the intracellular compartment from the extracellular environment and intracellular membranes. Biological membranes also play a major role in metabolism regulation and cellular physiology (e.g., mitochondrial membranes). The elaboration of membrane based biomimetic systems allows us to reconstitute and investigate, in controlled conditions, biological events occurring at the membrane interface. A whole variety of model membrane systems have been developed in the last few decades. Among these models, supported membranes were developed on various hydrophilic supports. The use of solid supports enables the direct use of surface sensitive techniques (e.g., surface plasmon resonance, quartz crystal microbalance, and atomic force microscopy) to monitor and quantify events occurring at the membrane surface. Tethered bilayer membranes (tBLMs) could be considered as an achievement of the first solid supported membranes described by the McConnell group. Tethered bilayers on solid supports were designed to delimit an inside compartment from an outside one. They were used for measuring interactions with ligands or incorporating large membrane proteins or complexes without interference with the support. In this context, the authors developed an easy concept of versatile tBLMs assembled on amino coated substrates that are formed upon the vesicle fusion rupture process applicable to protein-free vesicles as well as proteoliposomes. The phospholipid bilayer (natural or synthetic lipids) incorporated 5% of 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-poly ethylene glycol-N-hydroxy succinimide to ensure the anchorage of the bilayer to the amino coated surface. The conditions for the formation of tBLMs on amino-coated gold and glass were optimized for protein-free vesicles. This biomimetic membrane delimits an inside “trans” compartment separated from an outside reservoir “cis.” Using this tBLM construction, the authors were interested in deciphering two complex molecular mechanisms involving membrane-associated proteins. The first one concerns two mitochondrial proteins, i.e., the porin voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC) embedded in the outer membrane and the nucleotide transporter (adenine nucleotide translocase) that interacts dynamically during mitochondrial pathophysiology. The purified VDAC porin was first reconstituted in proteoliposomes that were subsequently assembled on an amino coated support to form a biomimetic membrane. As a major result, VDAC was reconstituted in this tBLM and calcium channeling was demonstrated across the lipid bilayer. The same two-compartment biomimetic membrane design was further engineered to study the translocation mechanism of a bacterial toxin, the adenylate cyclase toxin, CyaA, from Bordetella pertussis. As a result, the authors developed an elegant in vitro translocation toolkit applicable to potentially a large panel of proteins transported across membranes.