Model membrane platforms to study protein-membrane interactions

Mol Membr Biol. 2012 Aug;29(5):144-54. doi: 10.3109/09687688.2012.700490. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


Constituting functional interactions between proteins and lipid membranes is one of the essential features of cellular membranes. The major challenge of quantitatively studying these interactions in living cells is the multitude of involved components that are difficult, if not impossible, to simultaneously control. Therefore, there is great need for simplified but still sufficiently detailed model systems to investigate the key constituents of biological processes. To specifically focus on interactions between membrane proteins and lipids, several membrane models have been introduced which recapitulate to varying degrees the complexity and physicochemical nature of biological membranes. Here, we summarize the presently most widely used minimal model membrane systems, namely Supported Lipid Bilayers (SLBs), Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs) and Giant Plasma Membrane Vesicles (GPMVs) and their applications for protein-membrane interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / chemistry
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / metabolism


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Unilamellar Liposomes