Topographically smooth and stable supported lipid bilayer for high-resolution AFM studies

Siddhartha Banerjee, Yuri L. Lyubchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The cellular membrane has been identified to play a critical role in various biological processes including the assembly of biological systems. Membranes are complex, primarily two-dimensional assemblies with varied lipid compositions depending on the particular region of the cell. Supported lipid bilayers are considered as appropriate models for physio-chemical studies of membranes including numerous single molecule techniques. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) as a topographic technique is a fully appropriate single molecule technique capable of direct observation of molecular processes on membranes. However, reliable experimental AFM studies require the preparation of the bilayer with a sub-nanometer smooth morphology, which remains stable over long-time observation. Here we present the methodology, which allows one to prepare a smooth, stable, structurally homogeneous lipid bilayer without the presence of any trapped vesicles. We described the application of such lipid bilayers to probe time-dependent early stages of aggregation of monomeric amyloid proteins. Importantly, the proposed methodology can be extended to bilayers with various compositions, by incorporating different lipids for on-membrane aggregation study including cholesterol. Furthermore, this methodology development allowed us to monitor the aggregation of amyloid protein at its physiologically relevant low protein concentration. The flexibility of altering the membrane composition allows to identify the specific role of a particular lipid towards the aggregation kinetics, revealing the plausible mechanism of disease development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Amyloid
  • Protein aggregation
  • Supported lipid bilayer
  • Time-lapse AFM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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