An engineered membrane to measure electroporation: effect of tethers and bioelectronic interface.

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Journal Article
Biophysical journal, 2014, 107 (6), pp. 1339 - 1351
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This article reports on the construction and predictive models for a platform comprised of an engineered tethered membrane. The platform provides a controllable and physiologically relevant environment for the study of the electroporation process. The mixed self-assembled membrane is formed via a rapid solvent exchange technique. The membrane is tethered to the gold electrode and includes an ionic reservoir separating the membrane and gold surface. Above the membrane, there is an electrolyte solution, and a gold counterelectrode. A voltage is applied between the gold electrodes and the current measured. The current is dependent on the energy required to form aqueous pores and the conductance of each pore. A two-level predictive model, consisting of a macroscopic and a continuum model, is developed to relate the pore dynamics to the measured current. The macroscopic model consists of an equivalent circuit model of the tethered membrane, and asymptotic approximations to the Smoluchowski-Einstein equation of electroporation that is dependent on the pore conductance and the energy required to form aqueous pores. The continuum model is a generalized Poisson-Nernst-Planck (GPNP) system where an activity coefficient to account for steric effects of ions is added to the standard PNP system. The GPNP is used to evaluate the conductance of aqueous pores, and the electrical energy required to form the pores. As an outcome of the setup of the device and the two-level model, biologically important variables can be estimated from experimental measurements. To validate the accuracy of the two-level model, the predicted current is compared with experimentally measured current for different tethering densities.
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