Membrane protein and membrane protein–mimic functionalized materials are rapidly gaining interest across a wide range of applications, including drug screening, DNA sequencing, drug delivery, sensors, water desalination, and bioelectronics. In these applications, material performance is highly dependent on activity-per-protein and protein packing density in bilayer and bilayer-like structures collectively known as biomimetic membranes. However, a clear understanding of, and accurate tools to study these properties of biomimetic membranes does not exist. This paper presents methods to evaluate membrane protein compatibility with biomimetic membrane materials. The methods utilized provide average single protein activity, and for the first time, provide experimentally quantifiable measures of the chemical and physical compatibility between proteins (and their mimics) and membrane materials. Water transport proteins, rhodopsins, and artificial water channels are reconstituted into the full range of current biomimetic membrane matrices to evaluate the proposed platform. Compatibility measurement results show that both biological and artificial water channels tested largely preserve their single protein water transport rates in biomimetic membranes, while their reconstitution density is variable, leading to different overall membrane permeabilities. It is also shown that membrane protein insertion efficiency inversely correlates with both chemical and physical hydrophobicity mismatch between membrane protein and the membrane matrix.
- amphiphilic block copolymers
- biomimetic membranes
- fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS)
- hydrophobicity mismatch
- membrane proteins