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Control of membrane permeability in air-stable droplet interface bilayers...

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4224 to 4231

Air-stable droplet interface bilayers (airDIBs) on oil-infused surfaces are versatile model membranes for synthetic biology applications, including biosensing of airborne species. However, air-DIBs are subject to evaporation, which can, over time, destabilize them and reduce their useful lifetime compared to traditional DIBs that are fully submerged in oil. Here, we show that lifetimes of air-DIBs can be extended by as much as an order of magnitude by maintaining them at a temperature just above the dew point. We find that raising the temperature from near the dew point (7° C at 38.5 % relative humidity) to room temperature results in loss of water molecules of hydration from the polar head groups of the lipid bilayer membrane due to evaporation in an irreversible process that increases the overall entropy of the system. This dehydration transition affects primarily the bilayer resistance, by increasing ion permeability through the increasingly disordered polar head group region of the bilayer. Temperature and/or relative humidity are conveniently tunable parameters for controlling the stability and composition of air-DIBs membranes, while still allowing for operation in ambient environments.