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Supported planar bilayers have been used extensively in immunology to study molecular interactions at interfaces as a model for cell-cell interaction. Examples include Fc receptor-mediated adhesion and signaling and formation of the immunological synapse between T cells and antigen-presenting cells. The advantage of the supported planar bilayer system is control of the bilayer composition and the optical advantages of imaging the cell-bilayer or bilayer-bilayer interface by various types of trans-, epi- and total internal reflection illumination. Supported planar bilayers are simple to form by liposome fusion and recent advances in micro- and nanotechnology greatly extend the power of supported bilayers to address key questions in immunology and cell biology.

Original publication




Journal article


J immunol methods

Publication Date





19 - 32


Animals, Cell Adhesion, Cell Communication, Humans, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Lipid Bilayers, Lymphocytes, Microscopy, Confocal, Models, Biological