The natural cell cytoskeleton provides critical mechanical support for lipid bilayers using a network of actin fibers. As a step towards fabricating artificial cells, functional nanofiber networks were created to mimic the chemical and mechanical environment provided by the actin network. Lipid bilayers were formed on a random nanofiber mat made from ∼131 nm diameter polycaprolactam nanofibers modified to be highly hydrophilic by coating with 6.6 nm of silica (SiO2). The nanofiber-supported bilayers were characterized using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and electrophysiological recordings and found to be comparable to bilayer recordings from natural membranes. The nanofiber-supported bilayers were also more stable than conventional, unsupported, black lipid bilayers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics