Electrochemically-Driven Insertion of Biological Nanodiscs into Solid State Membrane Pores as a Basis for "Pore-In-Pore" Membranes

  • chair:

    Farajollahi, F. / Seidenstücker, A. / Altintoprak, K. / Walther,  P. / Ziemann, P. / Plettl, A. / Marti, O. / Wege, C. / Gliemann, H. (2018)

  • place:

    Nanomaterials (Basel), 2018, 8, 4, pii: E237, doi: 10.3390/nano8040237

  • Date: April 2018


Nanoporous membranes are of increasing interest for many applications, such as molecular filters, biosensors, nanofluidic logic and energy conversion devices. To meet high-quality standards, e.g., in molecular separation processes, membranes with well-defined pores in terms of pore diameter and chemical properties are required. However, the preparation of membranes with narrow pore diameter distributions is still challenging. In the work presented here, we demonstrate a strategy, a "pore-in-pore" approach, where the conical pores of a solid state membrane produced by a multi-step top-down lithography procedure are used as a template to insert precisely-formed biomolecular nanodiscs with exactly defined inner and outer diameters. These nanodiscs, which are the building blocks of tobacco mosaic virus-deduced particles, consist of coat proteins, which self-assemble under defined experimental conditions with a stabilizing short RNA. We demonstrate that the insertion of the nanodiscs can be driven either by diffusion due to a concentration gradient or by applying an electric field along the cross-section of the solid state membrane. It is found that the electrophoresis-driven insertion is significantly more effective than the insertion via the concentration gradient.