The broad objective of this project is to develop a new class of nanoscale objects - substrate-supported lipid nanotubes - with the goal of building robust hybrid nanodevices that are based on functional membrane proteins. Recently, our lab demonstrated that under certain conditions many phospholipids would self assemble into a nanotube when placed inside a nanopore. For macroscopically homogeneous and uniformly stacked nanopores, these lipid nanotubes form arrays that could be used in combinatorial assays. It was also found, that despite being of a nanoscale size, many properties of these membranes are remarkably similar to those of unsupported bilayers. Thus, it is hypothesized that the lipid nanotubes may serve as suitable mimics of biomembranes in supporting, protecting, and organizing functional membrane proteins. Because biological membranes and associated proteins represent the most attractive drug targets, it is proposed to utilize lipid nanotube design in membrane protein biochips. Preliminary results indicate that the lipid nanotube arrays appear to have several advantages over substrate-supported bilayers of the planar design: much larger bilayer surface area per that of a substrate, protection from surface contaminants, and long shelf time. The following aims are proposed.
Aim 1 - Self-assembly of lipid nanotubes: It is proposed to study the mechanism of the lipid nanotube self-assembly in order to gain control of the nanotube properties by manipulating the size of the nanoporous substrate and its surface properties;
Aim 2 - Membrane protein biochips: To develop conceptual design of protein biochips based on lipid nanotube arrays that would efficiently detect and analyze molecular interactions of analytes with specific phospholipid membrane and membrane protein targets.
Aim 3 - Membrane proteins in lipid nanotubes: To study molecular mechanisms of interaction of transmembrane peptides, membrane and peripheral proteins with the lipid nanotubes for the explicit purpose of using that information in further development of lipid nanotube biochips. ? ?
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