Using QCM-D and Neutron reflectometry to examine membrane biochemistry at the Solid-Liquid Interface
Dr Luke A. Clifton Oct 27, ’22 ~ 3 min

Using QCM-D and Neutron reflectometry to examine membrane biochemistry at the Solid-Liquid Interface

Model membrane sample systems at the solid-liquid interface enable membrane biochemistry to be studied with molecular precision using sample systems of reduced complexity to those found in vivo.

Using Neutron Reflectrometry to examine complex biological architectures

Neutron reflectometry (NR) is a technique found at large national and international facilities which allows for structure at buried interfaces to be probed. Complex biological architectures such as membranes can be structurally examined and the relative distribution of components across the surface resolved. However, NR is not a high throughput technique. Therefore, QCM-D has become a commonly utilized bench-top technique to complement structural studies on membrane models by NR and probe these over a wide range of experimental conditions [1].

QCM-D as a tool to complement Neutron reflectometry studies

As an instrument scientist I help researchers use neutron beams to examine biological membrane structures by NR. Part of my role is developing and bench testing new interfacial model membrane sample systems. Recently I have contributed to the development of two advanced model membrane systems. One, a self-assembled floating membrane system where the distance of the lipid bilayer from the bulk surface can be tuned by changing the solution salt conditions [2] and another, a planar lipid/integral membrane protein complex which can be used to examine protein folding in the membrane environment [3]. In both cases the use of QCM-D to complement NR studies and as a tool for high throughput applied usage of these advanced biomimetics has been highly beneficial.

Using neutron beams to examine biological structures

In this talk I will give an introduction using neutron beams to examine biological structures in general and membrane structures by NR in particular. I will then discuss two recent studies which use a complementary combination of NR and QCM-D to give a precise molecular level structural and physical understanding of two new, advanced membrane biomimetic systems.

Watch the webinar

Watch the webinar to learn more about how to combine QCM-D and NR to examine membrane biochemistry at the solid-liquid Interface.


QCM-D and Neutron Reflectometry to examine membrane biochemistry

Watch the webinar!


[1] LA Clifton et al, Design and use of model membranes to study biomolecular interactions using complementary surface-sensitive techniques, 2020, Advances in colloid and interface science 277, 102118

[2] LH John et al, Large scale model lipid membrane movement induced by a cation switch, 2021, Journal of colloid and interface science 596, 297-311

[3] SCL Hall et al, Surface-tethered planar membranes containing the β-barrel assembly machinery: a platform for investigating bacterial outer membrane protein folding, 2021, Biophysical Journal 120 (23), 5295-5308

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