Supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) are commonly used to investigate the structure and dynamics of biological membranes. Vesicle fusion is a widely exploited method to produce SLBs. However, this process becomes less favoured when the vesicles contain complex lipid mixtures, e.g. natural lipid extracts. In these cases, it is often necessary to change experimental parameters, such as temperature, to unphysiological values to trigger the SLB formation. This may induce lipid degradation and is also not compatible with including membrane proteins or other biomolecules into the bilayers. Here, we show that the peptide discs, similar to 10 nm discoidal lipid bilayers stabilized in solution by a self-assembled 18A peptide belt, can be used as precursors for SLBs. The characterizations by means of neutron reflectometry and attenuated total reflectance-FTIR spectroscopy show that SLBs were successfully formed both from synthetic lipid mixtures (surface coverage 90-95%) and from natural lipid mixtures (surface coverage similar to 85%). Traces of 18A peptide (below 0.02 M ratio) left at the support surface after the bilayer formation do not affect the SLB structure. Altogether, we demonstrate that peptide disc formation of SLBs is much faster than the SLB formation by vesicle fusion and without the need of altering any experimental variable from physiologically relevant values. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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