In this study, we observed the topology of a single protein in a stretched lipid bilayer (membrane) suspended over a nanoscale well using a fast-scanning atomic force microscope (AFM). The membrane was located stably enough on the well to prevent the leakage of a liquid placed in the well, and it allowed us to observe membrane stretching using an AFM. We successfully observed the gradual stretching of the suspended membrane. We also observed single bacteriorhodopsin proteins in the stretched membrane, and found that they maintained their trimeric structure, but that the distances between the trimers increased.
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