Biomimetic colloidal particles are promising agents for biosensing, but current technologies fall far short of Nature's capabilities for sensing, assessing, and responding to stimuli. Phospholipid-containing cell membranes are capable of binding and responding to an enormous variety of biomolecules by virtue of membrane organization and the presence of receptor proteins. By tuning the composition and functionalization of simulated membranes, soft colloids such as droplets and bubbles can be designed to respond to various stimuli. Moreover, because lipid monolayers can surround almost any hydrophobic phase, the interior of the colloid can be selected to provide a sensitive readout, for example in the form of optical microscopy or acoustic detection. In this work, we review some advances made by our group and others in the formulation of lipid-coated particles with different internal phases such as fluorocarbons, hydrocarbons, or liquid crystals. In some cases, binding or displacement of stabilizing lipids gives rise to conformational changes or disruptions in local membrane geometry, which can be amplified by the interior phase. In other cases, multivalent analytes can promote aggregation or even membrane fusion, which can be utilized for an optical or acoustic readout. By highlighting a few recent examples, we hope to show that lipid monolayers represent a versatile biosensing platform that can react to and detect biomolecules by leveraging the unique capabilities of phospholipid membranes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry