pH Responsive Polymer Cushions for Probing Membrane Environment Interactions

A robust and straightforward method for the preparation of lipid membranes upon dynamically responsive polymer cushions is reported. Structural characterization demonstrates that complete, well-packed membranes with tunable mobility can be constructed on the polymeric cushion. With this system, membrane conformational changes induced by cellular cytoskeleton interactions can be modeled. The membrane can be tailored to screen the cushion from changes in pH or allow rapid response to the pH environment by incorporation of protein ion channels. This elementary system offers a means to replicate the conformational changes that occur with the cellular cytoskeleton and has great potential for fundamental biophysical studies of membrane properties and membrane–protein interactions decoupled from the underlying solid support.