Dynamic and reversible control of 2D membrane protein concentration in a droplet interface bilayer

Nano Lett. 2011 Aug 10;11(8):3324-8. doi: 10.1021/nl201689v. Epub 2011 Jul 13.


We form an artificial lipid bilayer between a nanolitre aqueous droplet and a supporting hydrogel immersed in an oil/lipid solution. Manipulation of the axial position of the droplet relative to the hydrogel controls the size of the bilayer formed at the interface; this enables the surface density of integral membrane proteins to be controlled. We are able to modulate the surface density of the β-barrel pore-forming toxin α-hemolysin over a range of 4 orders of magnitude within a time frame of a few seconds. The concentration changes are fully reversible. Membrane protein function and diffusion are unaltered, as measured by single molecule microscopy and single channel electrical recording.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Lipid Bilayers*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis*


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Proteins