A Biomimetic Platform to Study the Interactions of Bioelectroactive Molecules with Lipid Nanodomains

In this work, we developed a biomimetic platform where the study of membrane associated redox processes and high-resolution imaging of lipid nanodomains can be both performed, based on a new functional gold modification, l-cysteine self-assembled monolayer. This monolayer proved to be ideal for the preparation of defect-free planar supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) where nanodomains with height difference of ∼1.5 nm are clearly resolved by atomic force microscopy. Single and multicomponent lipid compositions were used, leading to the formation of different phases and domains mimicking the lateral organization of cellular membranes, and in all cases stable and continuous bilayers were obtained. These platforms were tested toward the interaction with bioelectroactive molecules, the antioxidant quercetin, and the hormone epinephrine. Despite the weak interaction detected between epinephrine and lipid bilayers, our biomimetic interface was able to sense the redox process of membrane-bound epinephrine, obtain its surface concentration (9.36 × 10<sup>‑11</sup> mol/cm<sup>2</sup> for a fluid bilayer), and estimate a mole fraction membrane/water partition coefficient (<i>K</i><sub>p</sub>) from cyclic voltammetric measurements (1.13 × 10<sup>4</sup> for a fluid phase membrane). This <i>K</i><sub>p</sub> could be used to quantitatively describe the minute changes observed in the photophysical properties of epinephrine intrinsic fluorescence upon its interaction with liposome suspensions. Moreover, we showed that the lipid membrane stabilizes epinephrine structure, preventing its oxidation, which occurs in neutral aqueous solution, and that epinephrine partition and mobility in membranes depends on lipid phase, expanding our knowledge on hormone membrane interactions.