Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 35, Issue 1–2, pp 241–246

Storable droplet interface lipid bilayers for cell-free ion channel studies

  • Sung-Ho Jung
  • Sangbaek Choi
  • Young-Rok Kim
  • Tae-Joon Jeon
Original Paper


An artificially created lipid bilayer is an important platform in studying ion channels and engineered biosensor applications. However, a lipid bilayer created using conventional techniques is fragile and short-lived, and the measurement of ion channels requires expertise and laborious procedures, precluding practical applications. Here, we demonstrate a storable droplet lipid bilayer precursor frozen with ion channels, resulting in a droplet interface bilayer upon thawing. A small vial with an aqueous droplet in organic solution was flash frozen in −80 °C methanol immediately after an aqueous droplet was introduced into the organic solution and gravity draws the droplet down to the interface upon thawing. A lipid bilayer created along the interface using this method had giga-ohm resistance and typical specific capacitance values. The noise level of this system is favorably comparable to the conventional system. The subsequent incorporation of ion channels, alpha-hemolysin and gramicidin A, showed typical conductance values consistent with those in previous literatures. This novel system to create a lipid bilayer as a whole can be automated from its manufacture to use and indefinitely stored when frozen. As a result, ion channel measurements can be carried out in any place, increasing the accessibility of ion channel studies as well as a number of applications, such as biosensors, ion channel drug screening, and biophysical studies.


Ion channel Lipid bilayer Self-assembly Droplet interface bilayer 



High-throughput screening


Human ether-á-go-go related gene




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung-Ho Jung
    • 1
  • Sangbaek Choi
    • 1
  • Young-Rok Kim
    • 2
  • Tae-Joon Jeon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological EngineeringInha UniversityIncheonKorea
  2. 2.Institute of Life Science and Resources and Department of Food Science and BiotechnologyKyung Hee UniversityYonginKorea

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