Influence of the electric field on a bio-mimetic film supported on a gold electrode

I Burgess, M Li, Sarah Horswell, G Szymanski, J Lipkowski, S Satija, J Majewski

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39 Citations (Scopus)


A model biological membrane was formed by fusion of mixed cholesterol and DMPC (dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine) phospholipid vesicles onto a gold-coated quartz support. The gold surface was charged and the influence of the charge at the solid support on the structure and integrity of the phospholipid bilayer was investigated using the specular reflection of neutrons and electrochemical measurements. When the surface charge density is close to zero, the lipid vesicles fuse directly on the surface to form a bilayer with a small number of defects and hence low water content. When the support's surface is negatively charged the film swells and incorporates water due to the field driven poration of the membrane. When the charge density is more negative then -8 microC cm(-2) the bilayer is detached from the metal surface. However, it remains in close proximity to the metal electrode, suspended on a thin cushion of water. The film thicknesses, calculated from neutron reflectivity, have allowed us to determine the tilt angle of the lipid molecules as a function of the support's charge density. The lipid molecules are tilted 55 degrees from the surface normal at zero charge density but become significantly more perpendicular (30 degrees tilt angle) at charge densities more negative than -8 microC cm(-2). The tilt angle measurements are in very good agreement with previous IR studies. This paper describes the highlights of a more in-depth study which is fully described in [1].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


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