Taking their inspiration from nature, researchers have coated nanopores with fluid bilayers to sense single proteins. The creation, which mimics the pores in the olfactory system of a silk moth (pictured), was developed by Michael Mayer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Jerry Yang at the University of California, San Diego, and their team.
By modifying the lipid with specific ligands, the researchers can control which proteins move through the pore, and how long their journey takes. The system can also be tweaked to slow down proteins that would otherwise translocate too fast to be analysed accurately.
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Slip and slide pores for sensors. Nature 471, 9 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/471009e