Detection of single ion channel activity with carbon nanotubes.
ABSTRACT: Many processes in life are based on ion currents and membrane voltages controlled by a sophisticated and diverse family of membrane proteins (ion channels), which are comparable in size to the most advanced nanoelectronic components currently under development. Here we demonstrate an electrical assay of individual ion channel activity by measuring the dynamic opening and closing of the ion channel nanopores using single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Two canonical dynamic ion channels (gramicidin A (gA) and alamethicin) and one static biological nanopore (?-hemolysin (?-HL)) were successfully incorporated into supported lipid bilayers (SLBs, an artificial cell membrane), which in turn were interfaced to the carbon nanotubes through a variety of polymer-cushion surface functionalization schemes. The ion channel current directly charges the quantum capacitance of a single nanotube in a network of purified semiconducting nanotubes. This work forms the foundation for a scalable, massively parallel architecture of 1d nanoelectronic devices interrogating electrophysiology at the single ion channel level.
Project description:The interaction of cell and organelle membranes (lipid bilayers) with nanoelectronics can enable new technologies to sense and measure electrophysiology in qualitatively new ways. To date, a variety of sensing devices have been demonstrated to measure membrane currents through macroscopic numbers of ion channels. However, nanoelectronic based sensing of single ion channel currents has been a challenge. Here, we report graphene-based field-effect transistors combined with supported lipid bilayers as a platform for measuring, for the first time, individual ion channel activity. We show that the supported lipid bilayers uniformly coat the single layer graphene surface, acting as a biomimetic barrier that insulates (both electrically and chemically) the graphene from the electrolyte environment. Upon introduction of pore-forming membrane proteins such as alamethicin and gramicidin A, current pulses are observed through the lipid bilayers from the graphene to the electrolyte, which charge the quantum capacitance of the graphene. This approach combines nanotechnology with electrophysiology to demonstrate qualitatively new ways of measuring ion channel currents.
Project description:Ion channels play crucial roles in transport and regulatory functions of living cells. Understanding the gating mechanisms of these channels is important to understanding and treating diseases that have been linked to ion channels. One potential model peptide for studying the mechanism of ion channel gating is alamethicin, which adopts a split ?/3(10)-helix structure and responds to changes in electric potential. In this study, sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy (SFG-VS), supplemented by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), has been applied to characterize interactions between alamethicin (a model for larger channel proteins) and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) lipid bilayers in the presence of an electric potential across the membrane. The membrane potential difference was controlled by changing the pH of the solution in contact with the bilayer and was measured using fluorescence spectroscopy. The orientation angle of alamethicin in POPC lipid bilayers was then determined at different pH values using polarized SFG amide I spectra. Assuming that all molecules adopt the same orientation (a ? distribution), at pH = 6.7 the ?-helix at the N-terminus and the 3(10)-helix at the C-terminus tilt at about 72° (?(1)) and 50° (?(2)) versus the surface normal, respectively. When pH increases to 11.9, ?(1) and ?(2) decrease to 56.5° and 45°, respectively. The ? distribution assumption was verified using a combination of SFG and ATR-FTIR measurements, which showed a quite narrow distribution in the angle of ?(1) for both pH conditions. This indicates that all alamethicin molecules at the surface adopt a nearly identical orientation in POPC lipid bilayers. The localized pH change in proximity to the bilayer modulates the membrane potential and thus induces a decrease in both the tilt and the bend angles of the two helices in alamethicin. This is the first reported application of SFG to the study of model ion channel gating mechanisms in model cell membranes.
Project description:The demonstration of field-effect transistors (FETs) based entirely on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) would enable the fabrication of high-on-current, flexible, transparent and stretchable devices owing to the excellent electrical, optical, and mechanical properties of SWNTs. Fabricating all-SWNT-based FETs via simple solution process, at room temperature and without using lithography and vacuum process could further broaden the applicability of all-SWNT-FETs. In this work, we report on biologically assembled all SWNT-based transistors and demonstrate that ion-gel-gated network structures of unsorted SWNTs assembled using a biological template material enabled operation of SWNT-based transistors at a very low voltage. The compatibility of the biologically assembled SWNT networks with ion gel dielectrics and the large capacitance of both the three-dimensional channel networks and the ion gel allowed an ultralow operation voltage. The all-SWNT-based FETs showed an I on /I off value of >102, an on-current density per channel width of 2.16?×?10-4?A/mm at VDS?=?0.4?V, and a field-effect hole mobility of 1.12?cm2/V?·?s in addition to the low operation voltage of <-0.5?V. We envision that our work suggests a solution-based simple and low-cost approach to realizing all-carbon-based FETs for low voltage operation and flexible applications.
Project description:Suspended planar lipid membranes (or black lipid membranes (BLMs)) are widely used for studying reconstituted ion channels, although they lack the chemical and mechanical stability needed for incorporation into high-throughput biosensors and biochips. Lipid polymerization enhances BLM stability but is incompatible with ion channel function when membrane fluidity is required. Here, we demonstrate the preparation of a highly stable BLM that retains significant fluidity by using a mixture of polymerizable and nonpolymerizable phospholipids. Alamethicin, a voltage-gated peptide channel for which membrane fluidity is required for activity, was reconstituted into mixed BLMs prepared using bis-dienoyl phosphatidylcholine (bis-DenPC) and diphytanoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPhPC). Polymerization yielded BLMs that retain the fluidity required for alamethicin activity yet are stable for several days as compared to a few hours prior to polymerization. Thus, these polymerized, binary composition BLMs feature both fluidity and long-term stability.
Project description:Interfacing nanoelectronic devices with cell membranes can enable multiplexed detection of fundamental biological processes (such as signal transduction, electrophysiology, and import/export control) even down to the single ion channel level, which can lead to a variety of applications in pharmacology and clinical diagnosis. Therefore, it is necessary to understand and control the chemical and electrical interface between the device and the lipid bilayer membrane. Here, we develop a simple bottom-up approach to assemble tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) on silicon wafers and glass slides, using a covalent tether attachment chemistry based on silane functionalization, followed by step-by-step stacking of two other functional molecular building blocks (oligo-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and lipid). A standard vesicle fusion process was used to complete the bilayer formation. The monolayer synthetic scheme includes three well-established chemical reactions: self-assembly, epoxy-amine reaction, and EDC/NHS cross-linking reaction. All three reactions are facile and simple and can be easily implemented in many research labs, on the basis of common, commercially available precursors using mild reaction conditions. The oligo-PEG acts as the hydrophilic spacer, a key role in the formation of a homogeneous bilayer membrane. To explore the broad applicability of this approach, we have further demonstrated the formation of tBLMs on three common classes of (nano)electronic biosensor devices: indium-tin oxide-coated glass, silicon nanoribbon devices, and high-density single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) networks on glass. More importantly, we incorporated alemethicin into tBLMs and realized the real-time recording of single ion channel activity with high sensitivity and high temporal resolution using the tBLMs/SWNT network transistor hybrid platform. This approach can provide a covalently bonded lipid coating on the oxide layer of nanoelectronic devices, which will enable a variety of applications in the emerging field of nanoelectronic interfaces to electrophysiology.
Project description:Carbon nanotubes are capable of penetrating the cell membrane and are widely considered as potential carriers for gene or drug delivery. Because the C-C and C=C bonds in carbon nanotubes are nonpolar, functionalization is required for carbon nanotubes to interact with genes or drugs as well as to improve their biocompatibility. In this study, polyethylenimine (PEI)-functionalized single-wall (PEI-NH-SWNTs) and multiwall carbon nanotubes (PEI-NH-MWNTs) were produced by direct amination method. PEI functionalization increased the positive charge on the surface of SWNTs and MWNTs, allowing carbon nanotubes to interact electrostatically with the negatively charged small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and to serve as nonviral gene delivery reagents. PEI-NH-MWNTs and PEI-NH-SWNTs had a better solubility in water than pristine carbon nanotubes, and further removal of large aggregates by centrifugation produced a stable suspension of reduced particle size and improved homogeneity and dispersity. The amount of grafted PEI estimated by thermogravimetric analysis was 5.08% (w/w) and 5.28% (w/w) for PEI-NH-SWNTs and PEI-NH-MWNTs, respectively. For the assessment of cytotoxicity, various concentrations of PEI-NH-SWNTs and PEI-NH-MWNTs were incubated with human cervical cancer cells, HeLa-S3, for 48 h. PEI-NH-SWNTs and PEI-NH-MWNTs induced cell deaths in a dose-dependent manner but were less cytotoxic compared to pure PEI. As determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, siRNAs directed against glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (siGAPDH) were completely associated with PEI-NH-SWNTs or PEI-NH-MWNTs at a PEI-NH-SWNT/siGAPDH or PEI-NH-MWNT/siGAPDH mass ratio of 80:1 or 160:1, respectively. Furthermore, PEI-NH-SWNTs and PEI-NH-MWNTs successfully delivered siGAPDH into HeLa-S3 cells at PEI-NH-SWNT/siGAPDH and PEI-NH-MWNT/siGAPDH mass ratios of 1:1 to 20:1, resulting in suppression of the mRNA level of GAPDH to an extent similar to that of DharmaFECT, a common transfection reagent for siRNAs. Our results indicate that the PEI-NH-SWNTs and PEI-NH-MWNTs produced in this study are capable of delivering siRNAs into HeLa-S3 cells to suppress gene expression and may therefore be considered as novel nonviral gene delivery reagents.
Project description:Here we report on the ion conductance through individual, small diameter single-walled carbon nanotubes. We find that they are mimics of ion channels found in natural systems. We explore the factors governing the ion selectivity and permeation through single-walled carbon nanotubes by considering an electrostatic mechanism built around a simplified version of the Gouy-Chapman theory. We find that the single-walled carbon nanotubes preferentially transported cations and that the cation permeability is size-dependent. The ionic conductance increases as the absolute hydration enthalpy decreases for monovalent cations with similar solid-state radii, hydrated radii, and bulk mobility. Charge screening experiments using either the addition of cationic or anionic polymers, divalent metal cations, or changes in pH reveal the enormous impact of the negatively charged carboxylates at the entrance of the single-walled carbon nanotubes. These observations were modeled in the low-to-medium concentration range (0.1-2.0 M) by an electrostatic mechanism that mimics the behavior observed in many biological ion channel-forming proteins. Moreover, multi-ion conduction in the high concentration range (>2.0 M) further reinforces the similarity between single-walled carbon nanotubes and protein ion channels.
Project description:Synthetic ion channels may have applications in treating channelopathies and as new classes of antibiotics, particularly if ion flow through the channels can be controlled. Here we describe triazole-capped octameric ?-aminoisobutyric acid (Aib) foldamers that "switch on" ion channel activity in phospholipid bilayers upon copper(ii) chloride addition; activity is "switched off" upon copper(ii) extraction. X-ray crystallography showed that CuCl2 complexation gave chloro-bridged foldamer dimers, with hydrogen bonds between dimers producing channels within the crystal structure. These interactions suggest a pathway for foldamer self-assembly into membrane ion channels. The copper(ii)-foldamer complexes showed antibacterial activity against B. megaterium strain DSM319 that was similar to the peptaibol antibiotic alamethicin, but with 90% lower hemolytic activity.
Project description:Semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (s-SWNTs) are regarded as an important candidate for infrared (IR) optical detection due to their excellent intrinsic properties. However, the strong binding energy of excitons in s-SWNTs seriously impedes the development of s-SWNTs IR photodetector. This Communication reports an IR photodetector with highly pure s-SWNTs and ?-graphdiyne. The heterojunctions between the two materials can efficiently separate the photogenerated excitons. In comparison to device fabricated only with s-SWNTs, this IR detector shows a uniform response in the whole channel of the device. The response time is demonstrated to be below 1 ms. The optimal responsivity and detectivity approximately reach 0.4 mA W-1 and 5 × 106 cmHz1/2 W-1, respectively.
Project description:Carbon nanotubes are promising new materials for molecular delivery in biological systems. The long-term fate of nanotubes intravenously injected into animals in vivo is currently unknown, an issue critical to potential clinical applications of these materials. Here, using the intrinsic Raman spectroscopic signatures of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), we measured the blood circulation of intravenously injected SWNTs and detect SWNTs in various organs and tissues of mice ex vivo over a period of three months. Functionalization of SWNTs by branched polyethylene-glycol (PEG) chains was developed, enabling thus far the longest SWNT blood circulation up to 1 day, relatively low uptake in the reticuloendothelial system (RES), and near-complete clearance from the main organs in approximately 2 months. Raman spectroscopy detected SWNT in the intestine, feces, kidney, and bladder of mice, suggesting excretion and clearance of SWNTs from mice via the biliary and renal pathways. No toxic side effect of SWNTs to mice was observed in necropsy, histology, and blood chemistry measurements. These findings pave the way to future biomedical applications of carbon nanotubes.