The membrane sheet assay allows studying the organisation and reactivity of membrane protein complexes in their native environment. To this end, cells are grown onto a glass coverslip and subjected to a brief ultrasound pulse, leaving behind the basal plasma membrane (see figure). After seconds, the plasma membrane is directly imaged or reacted with biochemical reagents, followed by microscopic analysis. Membrane sheets are ideally suited for microscopy as they are two-dimensional objects.
We employ superresolution Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy (see figure) and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. In addition, we perform dynamic studies applying Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP).