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Nanotube-vesicle networks with functionalized membranes and interiors

Journal article
Authors M. Davidson
M. Karlsson
J. Sinclair
Kristin Sott
Owe Orwar
Published in Journal of the American Chemical Society
Volume 125
Issue 2
Pages 374-8
ISSN 0002-7863
Publication year 2003
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 374-8
Language en
Keywords Biomimetic Materials/*chemistry, Biosensing Techniques, Erythrocyte Membrane/chemistry/metabolism, Humans, Liposomes/*chemistry, Membrane Proteins/*chemistry/metabolism, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Nanotechnology/*methods, Organelles/chemistry/metabolism, Signal Transduction
Subject categories Chemical Sciences


We describe nanotube-vesicle networks with reconstituted membrane protein from cells and with interior activity defined by an injection of microparticles or molecular probes. The functionality of a membrane protein after reconstitution was verified by single-channel ion conductance measurements in excised inside-out patches from the vesicle membranes. The distribution of protein, determined by fluorescence detection, in the network membrane was homogeneous and could diffuse via a nanotube connecting two vesicles. We also show how injecting small unilamellar protein-containing vesicles can differentiate the contents of individual containers in a network. The combination of membrane activity and interior activity was demonstrated by ionophore-assisted accumulation, and internal Calcium Green-mediated detection, of Ca2+ within a single network container. This system can model a variety of biological functions and complex biological multicompartment structures and might serve as a platform for constructing complex sensor and computational devices.

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