Supported Planar Mammalian Membranes as Models of in Vivo Cell Surface Architectures

Han-Yuan Liu, Hannah Grant, Hung-Lun Hsu, Raya Sorkin, Filip Boskovic, Gijs Wuite, Susan Daniel

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Emerging technologies use cell plasma membrane vesicles or "blebs" as an intermediate to form molecularly complete, planar cell surface mimetics that are compatible with a variety of characterization tools and microscopy methods. This approach enables direct incorporation of membrane proteins into supported lipid bilayers without using detergents and reconstitution and preserves native lipids and membrane species. Such a system can be advantageous as in vitro models of in vivo cell surfaces for study of the roles of membrane proteins as drug targets in drug delivery, host-pathogen interactions, tissue engineering, and many other bioanalytical and sensing applications. However, the impact of methods used to induce cell blebbing (vesiculation) on protein and membrane properties is still unknown. This study focuses on characterization of cell blebs created under various bleb-inducing conditions and the result on protein properties (orientation, mobility, activity, etc.) and lipid scrambling in this platform. The orientation of proteins in the cell blebs and planar bilayers is revealed using a protease cleavage assay. Lipid scrambling in both cell blebs and planar bilayers is indicated through an annexin V binding assay. To quantify protein confinement, immobility, etc., incorporation of GPI-linked yellow fluorescent protein (GPI-YFP) was used in conjunction with single-molecule tracking (SMT) microscopy. Finally, to investigate the impact of the bleb induction method on protein activity and expression level, cell blebs expressing human aminopeptidase N (hAPN) were analyzed by an enzyme activity assay and immunoblotting. This work enriches our understanding of cell plasma membrane bleb bilayers as a biomimetic platform, reveals conditions under which specific properties are met, and represents one of the few ways to make molecularly complete supported bilayers directly from cell plasma membranes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35526-35538
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number41
Early online date9 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2017


  • Supported lipid bilayer
  • cell blebs
  • cell plasma membrane vesicles
  • planar mammalian cell membrane
  • protein diffusion
  • single-molecule tracking


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