Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Direct 'writing' of artificial cell membranes on graphene

Date:
October 10, 2013
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Graphene emerges as a versatile new surface to assemble model cell membranes mimicking those in the human body, with potential for applications in sensors for understanding biological processes, disease detection and drug screening.

Scientists have demonstrated that membranes can be directly 'written' on to a graphene surface.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester

Graphene emerges as a versatile new surface to assemble model cell membranes mimicking those in the human body, with potential for applications in sensors for understanding biological processes, disease detection and drug screening.

Writing in Nature Communications, researchers at The University of Manchester led by Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, and Dr Michael Hirtz at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), have demonstrated that membranes can be directly 'written' on to a graphene surface using a technique known as Lipid Dip-Pen Nanolithography (L-DPN).

The human body contains 100 trillion cells, each of which is enveloped in a cell membrane which is essentially a phospholipid bi-layer membrane. These cell membranes have a plethora of proteins, ion channels and other molecules embedded in them, each performing vital functions.

It is essential, therefore, to study and understand these systems, thereby enabling their application in areas such as bio-sensing, bio-catalysis and drug-delivery. Considering that it is difficult to accomplish this by studying live cells inside the human body, scientists have developed model cell membranes on surfaces outside the body, to study the systems and processes under more convenient and accessible conditions.

Dr Vijayaraghavan's team at Manchester and their collaborators at KIT have shown that graphene is an exciting new surface on which to assemble these model membranes, and brings many advantages compared to existing surfaces.

Dr Vijayaraghavan said: "Firstly, the lipids spread uniformly on graphene to form high-quality membranes. Graphene has unique electronic properties; it is a semi-metal with tuneable conductivity.

"When the lipids contain binding sites such as the enzyme called biotin, we show that it actively binds with a protein called streptavidin. Also, when we use charged lipids, there is charge transfer from the lipids into graphene which changes the doping level in graphene. All of these together can be exploited to produce new types of graphene/lipids based bio-sensors."

Dr. Michael Hirtz (KIT) explains the L-DPN technique: "The technique utilizes a very sharp tip with an apex in the range of several nanometers as a means to write lipid membranes onto surfaces in a way similar to what a quill pen does with ink on paper. The small size of the tip and the precision machine controlling it allows of course for much smaller patterns, smaller than cells, and even right down to the nanoscale."

"By employing arrays of these tips multiple different mixtures of lipids can be written in parallel, allowing for sub-cellular sized patterns with diverse chemical composition."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Hirtz, Antonios Oikonomou, Thanasis Georgiou, Harald Fuchs, Aravind Vijayaraghavan. Multiplexed biomimetic lipid membranes on graphene by dip-pen nanolithography. Nature Communications, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3591

Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Direct 'writing' of artificial cell membranes on graphene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010091656.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2013, October 10). Direct 'writing' of artificial cell membranes on graphene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010091656.htm
University of Manchester. "Direct 'writing' of artificial cell membranes on graphene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010091656.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins