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Tailored Polymeric Membranes for Mycobacterium Smegmatis Porin A (MspA) Based Biosensors

Tailored Polymeric Membranes for Mycobacterium Smegmatis Porin A (MspA) Based Biosensors

Journal of Materials Chemistry. B 3(25): 5080-5086

ISSN/ISBN: 2050-750X

PMID: 26413301

DOI: 10.1039/c5tb00383k

Nanopores based on protein channels inserted into lipid membranes have paved the way towards a wide-range of inexpensive biosensors, especially for DNA sequencing. A key obstacle in using these biological ion channels as nanodevices is the poor stability of lipid bilayer membranes. Amphiphilic block copolymer membranes have emerged as a robust alternative to lipid membranes. While previous efforts have shown feasibility, we demonstrate for the first time the effect of polymer composition on MspA protein functionality. We show that membrane-protein interaction depends on the hydrophobic-hydrophilic ratio (f-ratio) of the block copolymer. These effects are particularly pronounced in asymmetric protein pores like MspA compared to the cylindrical α-Hemolysin pore. A key effect of membrane-protein interaction is the increased 1/fα noise. After first showing increases in 1/fα behaviour arise from increased substate activity, the noise power spectral density S(f) was used as a qualitative tool for understanding protein-membrane interactions in polymer membranes. Polymer compositions with f-ratios close to lipid membranes caused noise behaviour not observed in lipid membranes. However, by modifying the f-ratio using a modular synthetic approach, we were able to design a block copolymer exhibiting noise properties similar to a lipid membrane, albeit with better stability. Thus, by careful optimization, block copolymer membranes can emerge as a robust alternative for protein-pore based nano-biosensors.

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Accession: 058969459

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