Anchor-Lipid Monolayers at the Air−Water Interface; Prearranging of Model Membrane Systems
Model membrane systems are gaining more and more interest both for basic studies of membrane-related processes as well as for biotechnological applications. Several different model systems have been reported among which the tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) form a very attractive and powerful architecture. In all the proposed architectures, a control of the lateral organization of the structures at a molecular level is of great importance for an optimized preparation. For tBLMs, a homogeneous and not too dense monolayer is required to allow for the functional incorporation of complex membrane proteins. We present here an alternative approach to the commonly used self-assembly preparation. Lipids are spread on the air-water interface of a Langmuir film balance and form a monomolecular film. This allows for a better control of the lateral pressure and distribution for subsequent transfer to solid substrates. In this paper, we describe the properties of the surface monolayer, in terms of surface pressure, structure of the lipid molecule, content of lipid mixtures, temperature, and relaxations features. It is shown that a complete mixing of anchor-lipids and free lipids can be achieved. Furthermore, an increase of the spacer lengths and a decrease of the temperature lead to more compact films. This approach is a first step toward the fully controlled assembly of a model membrane system.
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