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Tethered bilayer lipid membranes to study membrane proteins

I. Köper, Flinders Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

Tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) can serve as a powerful model system to study structure and function of membranes and membrane proteins, when they are incorporated into the bilayer in a functional from.

We have developed and used a tethered bilayer membrane platform to study the influence of drugs on the structure and function of a lipid bilayer, by using a variety of surface analytical techniques such as impedance spectroscopy and neutron reflectometry.

Additionally, we have used the tBLM platform for the functional incorporation of a plant membrane transporter protein. The high molecular weight protein is expressed in barley roots and mediates tolerance to high soil boron levels. Incorporation of the membrane transporter was achieved using a cell-free expression approach and functional characterisation was performed using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.