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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neuronal activation by GPI-linked neuroligin-1 displayed in synthetic lipid bilayer membranes.

We have characterized, in vitro, interactions between hippocampal neuronal cells and silica microbeads coated with synthetic, fluid, lipid bilayer membranes containing the glycosylphosphatidyl inositol (GPI)-linked extracellular domain of the postsynaptic membrane protein neuroligin-1. These bilayer-neuroligin-1 beads activated neuronal cells to form presynaptic nerve terminals at the point of contact in a manner similar to that observed for live PC12 cells, ectopically expressing the full length neuroligin-1. The synthetic membranes exhibited biological activity at neuroligin-1 densities of approximately 1 to 6 proteins/microm(2). Polyolycarbonate beads with neuroligin-1 covalently attached to the surface failed to activate neurons despite the fact that neuroligin-1 binding activity is preserved. This implies that a lipid membrane environment is likely to be essential for neuroligin-1 activity. This technique allows the study of isolated proteins in an environment that has physical properties resembling those of a cell surface; proteins can diffuse freely within the membrane, retain their in vivo orientations, and are in a nondenatured state. In addition, the synthetic membrane environment affords control over both lipid and protein composition. This technology is easily implemented and can be applied to a wide variety of cellular studies.[1]


  1. Neuronal activation by GPI-linked neuroligin-1 displayed in synthetic lipid bilayer membranes. Baksh, M.M., Dean, C., Pautot, S., Demaria, S., Isacoff, E., Groves, J.T. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. (2005) [Pubmed]
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