The mechanoelectrical response of droplet interface bilayer membranes
Mechanotransduction and interfacial properties in unsupported liquid biomimetic membranes are explored using the droplet-interface bilayer technique. The fluidic monolayer-membrane system afforded by this technique allows for dynamic control over the membrane dimensions and curvature, which under periodic deformations generates capacitive currents (akin to a Kelvin probe), and permits a detailed electrostatic characterization of the boundary layers as well as observation of flexoelectric effects. Both high and low displacement frequency regimes are examined, and the results show that the mechanoelectric signals generated by the membranes may be linked to the membrane electrostatic structure. In addition, we show that periodic membrane bending in a high-frequency regime generates tension sufficient to activate reconstituted mechanosensitive channels.