The design and application of planar bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) with biological ion channels and related compounds allow highly sensitive and selective sensing systems for bioactive substances. The potentiality of partially purified glutamate receptor ion channels and a gramicidin channel embedded in artificial BLMs for designing new sensing systems was discussed in terms of principles, sensitivity and selectivity. The selective interaction of arachidonic acid with not only artificial bilayer membranes but also with biomembranes provided the design of a new sensing system for the detection of arachidonic acid released in mouse brain slices. The molecular design of planar BLMs with biological ion channels and related compounds provided an important tool for chemical sensing of bioactive substances and acquisition of physiologically relevant information.
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