Pure protein bilayers and vesicles from native fungal hydrophobins

Hendrik Hähl, Jose Vargas, Alessandra Griffo, Päivi Laaksonen, Géza Szilvay, Michael Lienemann, Karin Jacobs (Corresponding Author), Ralf Seemann, Jean-Baptiste Fleury

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    The formation of bilayers and the production of lipid-free vesicles from a naturally occurring, strongly amphiphilic protein, the hydrophobin HFBI was reported. To achieve protein bilayers with a hydrophobic core, a microfluidic cross-channel geometry made of hydrophobic material (poly(dimethyl)siloxane, PDMS) was utilized. The proteins contained in the fingers buffer solution quickly cover the formed interfaces. Upon contact of the two fingers, a straight interface is formed spontaneously that increases with time until a constant bilayer area with contact angle is reached, which indicates a balance between the bilayer tension and the tensions of the individual. To further probe the nature of the hydrophobic bilayer core, the capacitance of the HFBI bilayer with as continuous medium is determined. Bilayers with a hydrophilic core were achieved using a hydrophilic material for the same microfluidic chip geometry and inverting continuous and finger phases. Since hydrophobins are natural occurring proteins also present in fungal spores, a better biocompatibility than for vesicles made out of block copolymers or nanoparticles is expected. Hydrophobin vesicles thereby serve as a first example demonstrating the proof-of-concept of a pure protein platform for synthetic biology or drug delivery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1602888
    JournalAdvanced Materials
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    H.H., J.N.V., A.G., K.J., R.S., and J.-B.F. acknowledge support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1027 “Physical modelling of non-equilibrium processes in biological systems”. A.G., P.L., and G.S. acknowledge support from Academy of Finland's Centres of Excellence Programme (2014–2019).


    • bilayers
    • hydrophobins
    • proteinosomes
    • vesicles


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