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Vol. 14-1, Special Issue, March 2012, pp.185-196




A Parallel Sensing Technique for Automatic Bilayer Lipid Membrane Arrays Monitoring


Michele ROSSI, Federico THEI, and Marco TARTAGNI

ARCES Advanced Research Center on Electronic Systems

Second School of Engineering, University of Bologna - Via Venezia 52, 47521 Cesena (FC), Italy

Tel.: +39 0547 339247, fax: +39 0547 339208,
E-mail: mrossi@arces.unibo.it, fthei@arces.unibo.it, mtartagni@arces.unibo.it


Received: 16 November 2011   /Accepted: 20 December 2011   /Published: 12 March 2012

Digital Sensors and Sensor Sysstems


Abstract: Ion channels are transmembrane proteins responsible of cell signaling and a large part of pharmaceutical compounds are interacting with them. In-vitro testing of ion channels is a promising technique for high throughput screening (HTS) in drug discovery and personalized medicine. Automated tests of single ion channels embedded in artificial bilayer lipid membranes (BLM) is gaining attention over patch clamp technique due to its characteristic of performing parallel tests on selected sets of channels or multiple pharmaceutical targets. However, BLM arrays formation is a critical process based on manual and time-consuming techniques. In this paper, an automatic liquid dispensing system for BLM formation monitored in real-time by using low-noise current amplifiers is presented. As proof of this approach, concurrent formation of BLMs is shown. Additionally, single ion channel recordings on an automatically formed BLM is presented and discussed.


Keywords: Bilayer lipid membrane, automatic dispensing system, ion channels, high throughput screening


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