Nanopores with Fluid Walls as Single-Molecule Biosensors
Prof. Dr. Michael Mayer (University of Michigan)
Synthetic and biological nanopores can be used for fundamental and applied studies of individual biomolecules in high throughput. By measuring resistive current pulses during the translocation of single molecules through an electrolyte-filled nanopore, this technique can characterize the size, conformation, assembly, and activity of hundreds of unlabeled molecules per second. Inspired by the olfactory sensilla of insect antennae, we demonstrate that coating nanopores with a fluid lipid bilayer considerably extends the capabilities of nanopore-based assays. For instance, coating nanopores with different lipids allows fine control of the surface chemistry and diameter of nanopores. Incorporation of mobile ligands in the lipid bilayer imparts specificity to the nanopore for targeting proteins and enables, for the first time, precise and predictable control of translocation times for targeted proteins based on their net electric charge. Most recently, we explored the potential of this technique for determining the affinity constant of a protein-ligand interaction, monitoring the kinetics of binding of this interaction, and characterizing the aggregation of Alzheimer’s disease-related amyloid peptides.