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Protein-functionalized polymers retain dramatically increased stability over lipid membranes and the unique ability to be deposited on solid substrates in the ABA complex. Furthermore, since these polymers can mimic hydrophilic/hydrophobic biological environments in a single molecular chain, direct adsorption of protein-functionalized biomembrane films is enabled, which is a significant advantage over conventional lipid systems. Following the demonstration of protein mutagenesis and nanoscale biomimetic membrane fabrication, monolayer arrays of pore proteins have been deposited onto silicon wafers for applications in sensing nanomolecules such as conjugated quantum dots and colloidal gold beads. Furthermore, we have characterized monolayer surface properties of custom tailored polymers with varied block length for biomimetic membrane applications, as well as developed a multiwell microelectromechanical-system-based membrane testing platform for enhanced versatility in film deposition. We have successfully demonstrated the reconstitution of a genetically engineered OmpF porin in block copolymer-based biomembranes, fabrication of large-area hybrid protein-polymer Langmuir-Blodgett films, as well as protein insertion via macromolecule detection using protein-polymer active materials with the goal of buildup toward a multicomponent microsystem while preserving inherent molecular function.
Date of Publication: June 2004