Assay systems...the good stuff

SMrT templates

Supported Membrane Templates (SMrT) are membranes organized in a variety of shapes resting on a passivated and PEG-cushioned glass surface. The most easily distinguishable forms are a planar supported bilayer and membrane nanotubes. Lipids in an organic solvent are spotted on a PEGylated glass coverslip and allowed to dry. The coverslip is then placed inside a flow cell and hydrated with buffer flow, which transforms the dry lipid into a planar lipid bilayer and an array of membrane tubes. Membrane tubes in these templates represent intermediates in a typical budding reaction and can be used to test candidate proteins to catalyze fission. Read-outs on membrane fission are clear and unambiguous (see movie) and their amenability to fluorescence microscopy allows the fundamental analysis of membrane fission pathways as well as discovery of protein machines that remodel membranes.

Use of the supported membrane tube assay system for real-time analysis of membrane fission reactions

Dar, Kamerkar and Pucadyil (2017) Nature Protocols 

SUPER templates

SUPported bilayers with Excess membrane Reservoir (SUPER) templates are silica beads with a single lipid bilayer wrapped around but organized in folds. They are prepared by forming supported bilayers by the rupture and fusion of anionic liposomes on the silica surface in presence of high salt (see scheme below). They can be used in a variety of sedimentation-based applications from monitoring lipid-protein interactions to pulldowns to assaying membrane budding and fission. The excess reservoir can be visualized by adding them to a glass coverslip - once they settle, binding to the glass surface causes the excess reservoir to spill out and form a bilayer patch that looks like a sunny side-up.


Real-time visualization of dynamin-catalyzed membrane fission and vesicle release

Pucadyil and Schmid (2008) Cell 

Supported bilayers with excess membrane reservoir: a template for reconstituting membrane budding and fission.

Pucadyil and Schmid (2010) Biophysical Journal 

Analyzing membrane remodeling and fission using supported bilayers with excess membrane reservoir.

Neumann et al. (2013) Nature Protocols 

Sequential affinity chromatography (SAC)

Biochemical reconstitution requires rapid purification of large numbers of proteins to homogeneity. We achieve this by sequential affinity chromatography (SAC). 

The gene for the protein of interest is engineered with a 6xHis tag at one end and a StrepII tag at the other end. Proteins are expressed in a system of choice and then purified according to the following scheme using an FPLC or a peristaltic pump. This consistently gives us highly pure and full length proteins in as little as ~ 1 hr. 

SDS-PAGE showing results of

protein purification using SAC.

PLiMAP: proximity labeling-based identification of membrane-associated proteins


Biochemical reconstitution of membrane-associated phenomena requires analyzing the intrinsic lipid binding properties of proteins. We manage this by PLiMAP, which uses a patented novel bifunctional lipid (Patent 16/891373) incorporated in model membranes. 

A facile, sensitive and quantitative membrane-binding assay for proteins
Jose, Gopan, Bhattacharyya, Pucadyil (2019) Traffic

PLiMAP: Proximity-Based Labeling of Membrane-Associated Proteins
Jose and Pucadyil (2020) Current Protocols in Protein Science