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Studies of lipid rafts, ordered microdomains of sphingolipids and cholesterol within cell membranes, are essential in probing the relationships between membrane organization and cellular function. While in vitro studies of lipid phase separation are commonly performed using spherical vesicles as model membranes, the utility of these models is limited by a number of factors. Here we present a microfluidic device that supports simultaneous electrical measurements and confocal imaging of on-chip bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs), enabling real-time multi-domain imaging of membrane organization. The chips further support closed microfluidic access to both sides of the membrane, allowing the membrane boundary conditions to be rapidly changed and providing a mechanism for dynamically adjusting membrane curvature through application of a transmembrane pressure gradient. Here we demonstrate the platform through the study of dynamic generation and dissolution of ordered lipid domains as membrane components are transported to and from the supporting annulus containing solvated lipids and cholesterol.
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