Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Nanoscaled Tip Writes Artificial Cell Membranes: Biomimetic Membranes on Graphene Open up Novel Applications in Biotechnology – Publication in “Nature Communications“

By means of lipid dip-pen nanolithography (L-DPN), lipid membranes are written directly onto the two-dimensional carbon graphene.Graphics: Hirtz/Nature Communications
By means of lipid dip-pen nanolithography (L-DPN), lipid membranes are written directly onto the two-dimensional carbon graphene.

Graphics: Hirtz/Nature Communications

Abstract:
Researchers around Dr. Michael Hirtz from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan from the University of Manchester have developed a new method to produce artificial membranes: Using a nanoscaled tip, they write tailored patches of phospholipid membrane onto a graphene substrate. The resulting biomimetic membranes, i.e. membranes simulating biological structures, allow for the specific investigation of functions of cell membranes and the development of novel applications in medicine and biotechnology, such as biosensors. The method is now presented online in "Nature Communications".

Nanoscaled Tip Writes Artificial Cell Membranes: Biomimetic Membranes on Graphene Open up Novel Applications in Biotechnology – Publication in “Nature Communications“

Karlsruhe, Germany | Posted on October 15th, 2013

Lipids (from Greek lipos, "fat") are central structural elements of cell membranes. The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, each of which is enveloped in a cell membrane which essentially is a double layer of partly hydrophilic, partly hydrophobic phosphorus-containing lipids. These cell membranes contain numerous proteins, ion channels, and other biomolecules, each performing vital functions. It is therefore important to study cell membranes for many areas of medicine and biotechnology. Better understanding of their functions will open up novel applications, such as sensors with biological components, use of enzymes as catalysts, or specific introduction of medical substances. However, it is very difficult to study the membranes directly in live cells inside the human body.

Consequently, researchers frequently use model membranes that are applied to special surfaces. These biomimetic systems, i.e. systems simulating biological structures, are more convenient and can be controlled much better. An international group of researchers around Dr. Michael Hirtz, head of the project in the research unit of Professor Harald Fuchs at the KIT Institute of Nanotechnology (INT), and Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan from the University of Manchester, Great Britain, now presents a new method to produce biomimetic membranes: They write tailored patches of phospholipid membrane onto a graphene substrate by means of lipid dip-pen nanolithography (L-DPN), a method developed at KIT.

"The L-DPN technique uses a very sharp tip to write lipid membranes onto surfaces in a way similar to what a quill pen does with ink on paper," explains Dr. Michael Hirtz from the INT. This tip has an apex in the range of a few nanometers only and is controlled with a high precision by a machine. In this way, minute structures can be produced, smaller than cells and even down to the nanoscale (1 nanometer corresponds to 10-9 meters). By employing parallel arrays of these tips, different mixtures of lipids can be written in parallel, allowing for patterns of variable chemical composition with a size smaller than that of an individual cell.

The graphene that is used as a substrate is a semi-metal with unique electronic properties. According to Dr. Aravin Vijayaraghavan from the University of Manchester, the lipids applied onto graphene spread uniformly, thus forming high-quality membranes. Other advantages of graphene are its tunable conductivity and its property to quench fluorescence of labeled phospholipids. When the lipids contain the corresponding binding sites, such as biotin, the membranes actively bind streptavidin, a protein produced by certain bacteria and used in various biotechnological methods. When the lipids are charged, charge is transferred from the lipids into graphene. This changes the conductivity of graphene, which may be used as a detection signal in biosensors.

The researchers around Hirtz will use their biomimetic membranes in the future to construct novel biosensors based on graphene and lipids. It is planned to design sensors that react to the binding of proteins by a change of conductivity as well as sensors detecting the function of ion channels in membranes. Ion channels are pore-forming proteins via which electrically charged particles can cross the membrane. "Protein sensors might be applied in medical diagnostics. Controlling the function of ion channels is important in drug research," the KIT scientist says.

M. Hirtz, A. Oikonomou, T. Georgiou, H. Fuchs, & A. Vijayaraghavan: Multiplexed biomimetic lipid membranes on graphene by dip-pen nanolithography. Nature Communications,
10 Oct 2013 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3591.

####

About Helmholtz Association
The Helmholtz Association is dedicated to pursuing the long-term research goals of state and society, and to maintaining and improving the livelihoods of the population. In order to do this, the Helmholtz Association carries out top-level research to identify and explore the major challenges facing society, science and the economy. Its work is divided into six strategic research fields: Energy; Earth and Environment; Health; Key Technologies; Structure of Matter; and Aeronautics, Space and Transport. The Helmholtz Association brings together 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres. With some 32,698 employees and an annual budget of approximately €3.4 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

About Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation according to the legislation of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. Research activities focus on energy, the natural and built environment as well as on society and technology and cover the whole range extending from fundamental aspects to application. With about 9000 employees, including nearly 6000 staff members in the science and education sector, and 24000 students, KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions in Europe. Work of KIT is based on the knowledge triangle of research, teaching, and innovation.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Monika Landgraf
Chief Press Officer

49-721-608-47414
Fax: +49 721 608-43658

Margarete Lehné
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Phone: +49 721 608-48121
Fax: +49 721 608-45681
margarete lehne∂kit edu

Copyright © Helmholtz Association

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Pressure probing potential photoelectronic manufacturing compound July 31st, 2014

NanoScience: Giants of the Infinitesimal July 31st, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2014 Financial Results July 30th, 2014

Graphene

Pressure probing potential photoelectronic manufacturing compound July 31st, 2014

Biomimetics

2539 visits at NANOPOSTER 2013 - Summary of 3rd Virtual Nanotechnology Poster Conference September 17th, 2013

Unique shell design gives guillemot eggs an edge for living on the edge July 5th, 2013

The nanomechanical signature of breast cancer: Differences in tissue stiffness have potential to aid in diagnosis, therapy February 2nd, 2013

Nature’s Nanomaterials – To Be or Not to Be Bioinspired? November 1st, 2012

Nanomedicine

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

Sensors

Production of Toxic Gas Sensor Based on Nanorods July 28th, 2014

Compact Vibration Harvester Power Supply with Highest Efficiency Opens Door to “Fix-and-Forget” Sensor Nodes July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014

Discoveries

Pressure probing potential photoelectronic manufacturing compound July 31st, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Watching Schrödinger's cat die (or come to life): Steering quantum evolution & using probes to conduct continuous error correction in quantum computers July 30th, 2014

From Narrow to Broad July 30th, 2014

Announcements

Pressure probing potential photoelectronic manufacturing compound July 31st, 2014

NanoScience: Giants of the Infinitesimal July 31st, 2014

Analytical solutions from Malvern Instruments support University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers in understanding environmental effects of nanomaterials July 30th, 2014

FEI Unveils New Solutions for Faster Time-to-Analysis in Metals Research July 30th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Harris & Harris Group Invests in Unique NYC Biotech Accelerator July 29th, 2014

Seeing is bead-lieving: Rice University scientists create model 'bead-spring' chains with tunable properties July 28th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 2014

Research partnerships

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 30th, 2014

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster: University of Leicester research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials July 25th, 2014

A*STAR and industry form S$200M semiconductor R&D July 25th, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE