Arrayed water-in-oil droplet bilayers for membrane transport analysis
The water-in-oil droplet bilayer is a simple and useful lipid bilayer system for membrane transport analysis. The droplet interface bilayer is readily formed by the contact of two water-in-oil droplets enwrapped by a phospholipid monolayer. However, the size of individual droplets with femtoliter volumes in a high-throughput manner is difficult to control, resulting in low sensitivity and throughput of membrane transport analysis. To overcome this drawback, in this study, we developed a novel micro-device in which a large number of droplet interface bilayers (>500) are formed at a time by using femtoliter-sized droplet arrays immobilized on a hydrophobic/hydrophilic substrate. The droplet volume was controllable from 3.5 to 350 fL by changing the hydrophobic/hydrophilic pattern on the device, allowing high-throughput analysis of membrane transport mechanisms including membrane permeability to solutes (e.g., ions or small molecules) with or without the aid of transport proteins. Thus, this novel platform broadens the versatility of water-in-oil droplet bilayers and will pave the way for novel analytical and pharmacological applications such as drug screening.