Proteopolymersomes: In vitro production of a membrane protein in polymersome membranes
Polymersomes are stable self-assembled architectures which mimic cell membranes. For characterization, membrane proteins can be incorporated into such bio-mimetic membranes by reconstitution methods, leading to so-called proteopolymersomes. In this work, we demonstrate the direct incorporation of a membrane protein into polymersome membranes by a cell-free expression system. Firstly, we demonstrate pore formation in the preformed polymersome membrane using α-hemolysin. Secondly, we use claudin-2, a protein involved in cell-cell interactions, to demonstrate the in vitro expression of a membrane protein into these polymersomes. Surface plasmon resonance (Biacore) binding studies with the claudin-2 proteopolymersomes and claudin-2 specific antibodies are performed to show the presence of the in vitro expressed protein in polymersome membranes.