Bioanalytical Research Group

Nano-ES Based Membrane Self-Assembly 

The question was: is it possible to generate a context on the liquid surface which allows the self-assembly of large, flat membranes with membrane proteins using a molecular beam-like nano-electrospray device ? The liquid surface itself should pre-determine the two dimensional shape of the membrane. 

The experimental answer was that this is possible if an entire environment is created in which molecules can freely move but which is restricted to a very flat layer. The flat layer does not give enough space to allow the formation of roles or stacks. 


1. Spray enough bi-polar lipid onto the liquid surface to form a lipid bi-layer -> keeping subsequent material in the surface

2. Spray a thin layer of glycerol -> hydrophilic environment that does not evaporate as a spacer

3. Add bi-polar lipid to form a monolayer -> "open membrane" as a template to incorporate proteins

4. Spray detergent solubilised membrane proteins and some lipid but less than in step 3 

5. Seal off the layers by spraying a thin layer of glycerol -> hydrophilic environment and spacer


Incubation for several days to extract the detergent from the surface layer by the SM-2 beads. 


Membrane formation in the thin glycerol layer in form of a large flat sheet.