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Talk by Claudia Steinem

Title: "Pore-spanning membranes: Recent developments and applications"
Occasion: SFB Special Seminar
Host: Jacob Piehler
Start: 12.07.2022 - 16:15
Location: CellNanOs 38/201 

About the speaker: Prof. Claudia Steinem heads the Biomolecular Chemistry group at the Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Göttingen.

Abstract of the talk: Artificial multicomponent membranes are a versatile tool to study membrane-confined processes. Three-dimensional vesicular structures are frequently used in membrane biophysics, but are not always easily accessible by microscopy techniques. Lipid membranes attached to a support, however, are quasi-planar and therefore accessible to both surface-sensitive methods and (high-resolution) microscopy techniques that allow high spatial and temporal resolution. Despite this advantage, the attachment of the membrane components on a support are at the cost of a lower mobility of the membrane components as well as a lack of a second aqueous compartment. In this talk, I will critically discuss the merits and drawbacks of supported lipid bilayers and will introduce an alternative membrane system, termed pore-spanning membranes. I will give an overview about the preparation and biophysical properties of fluid membranes attached to silicon substrates and porous substrates with a main focus on the dynamics of the membrane components.

I will then address the question how the support and the confinement within the freestanding parts of pore-spanning membranes influence the dynamics of single lipids and ordered domains in phase separated membranes. I will further demonstrate that pore-spanning membranes are a versatile tool to investigate the dynamic process of neuronal membrane fusion, which is schematically shown in the figure.