Investigation of the Thickness of Model Cell Membranes by Electrophysiological Measurement

Department of Chemistry, Iona College, 715 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York 10801, USA.

The cellular membrane is a crucial component to the functionality of a cell. This membrane maintains the distinct separation between the intracellular and extracellular environments. The membrane mediates several biological processes due to its unique composition and its various embedded proteins. The proper function of these proteins is a result of each protein’s specific structural conformation. Several factors such as membrane thickness and composition affect protein structure and activity. Membrane thickness is principally determined by its lipid composition, specifically the hydrocarbon chain length and structure. In addition, a wide variety of small molecules, such as drugs, can interact with the membrane and influence the overall membrane thickness. This work focuses on the investigation of the electrical capacitance behavior of lipid bilayers using the droplet interface bilayer (DIB) method as a model system for cell membranes. As specific capacitance is inversely related to the thickness of the bilayer membrane, membrane capacitance modelling can infer insight on the configuration of the bilayer. A key feature of our electrophysiological observation method included the simultaneous and reliable measurement of bilayer area and capacitance. Our findings illustrate that membrane thickness is modulated by its surrounding solvent environment including the presence of small molecules, inferring their direct interaction with the membrane.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Michael Krmic, Joseph Giancaspro

Institution: Iona College

Type: Poster

Subject: Biochemistry

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2171