The self-assembled bilayer lipid membrane (BLM) forms the basic structure of the cell membrane and serves as a major barrier against ion movement. Ion channel proteins function as gated pores that permit ion permeation across the BLM. The reconstitution of ion channel proteins in artificially formed BLMs represents a well-defined system for investigating channel functions and screening drug effects on ion channels. In this review, we will discuss our recent microfabrication approaches to the formation of stable BLMs containing ion channel proteins as a potential platform for next-generation drug screening systems. BLMs formed in a microaperture having a tapered edge exhibited highly stable properties, such as a lifetime of ∼65 h and tolerance to solution changes even after the incorporation of the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) channel. We also explore a new method of efficiently incorporating human ion channels into BLMs by centrifugation. Our approaches to the formation of stable BLMs and efficient channel incorporation markedly improve the experimental efficiency of BLM reconstitution systems, leading to the realization of a BLM-based high-throughput platform for functional assays of various ion channels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)