Investigations on Transmembrane Ion Channels Suspended over Porous Silicon Membranes

K.H. Tantawi, B. Berdiev, R. Cerro, J.D. Williams
University of Alabama in Huntsville, US

Keywords: porous silicon, lipid bilayer, transmembrane ion channel, Impedance spectroscopy

Summary:

This article presents a batch-fabricated porous silicon membrane tool used to investigate transmembrane protein functionality in complex biological systems. We address the physical and chemical requirements fabricate the thin porous membrane, attached a lipid bilayer, fuse an ion channel protein and measure the electrical response of the system. This was achieved through the use of electrochemical impedance analysis, atomic force microscopy, and specific optical spectroscopic methods. We demonstrate that integrating membrane protein functionality directly with silicon device technology can be used for energy conservation and electronic signaling both to and from a biological system. Finally, these studies will enable the test of multiple proteins working together within cell or organelle membranes.