Membranome is the entire information of structures and functions of biological membranes or biomimetic bilayer molecular assemblies, such as vesicles and supported membranes etc. and their systems, which include not only ordinally-stable one but also hidden potential or dynamically induced one under the stress condition.

The membranome is also related to the properties which arise from the bilayer molecular assembly. The membranome research is normally achieved from the chemical and biophysical aspects of the membrane, focusing on emergent properties which are not present in the individual components.

Among various membranes, vesicle (or liposome) is proposed as a life-environmental minimal unit which acts as a field to elucidate the above potential functions on its surface and it basically recognizes the “potentially-functional” minimal elements on its surface to induce their functions. The vesicle is often used as a biomimetic (model) membrane to achieve the investigation of the membrane-related phenomena.


The significance of the membranome concept has been introduced through some evidences in in vivo and in vitro approaches. The following examples have been reported as follows.

Example in vitro
-Molecular- and metal-chaperone-like function of liposome
-Recognition of specific state of the protein, peptide and nucleotide (lysenin, molten-globule state of proteins, oxidized peptide etc. )
-Vesicle-based enzymology
-LIPOzyme function
-Protein translocation across the phospholipid bilayer membrane
-Liposome-regulated gene expression
-Morphological change of amyloid fibril formation
-Ion channel formation through – stacking regulation in lipid membrane

Example in vivo
-Biocontrol considering the hysterisis of stress exposurement in bacterial cell death
-Signal transduction based on created microdomain (cPA, sterylglucoside, fatty acid, …)
-Dynamic change of cell morphology and its-relating gene expression
-Vesicle-induced apoptosis of cancer cells
-Choleric acid transport across the membrane of lactobacillus
-Heat induced translocation of some proteins across the cytoplasmic membrane of bacterial cells


The membranome research has been delayed owing to the above complexity of the information and also the lack of the suitable analytical methods for the membranome study. The membranome is larger than genome and proteome in their capacity of the information because there could be infinite combination of the lipid type , microdomain structure, physicochemical properties (hydrophobicity, electrostatic interaction, hydrogen bond and so on), vesicle shape, multi-lamellar structure, inter-vesicle interaction and so on. The membranome has at least two levels of complexity lacking in genome and proteome: (1) supramolecular assemblies on membrane and (2) supravesicular assembly of membranes in addition the complexity of the type of the chemicals.

Proposed Relation of Membranome with Others
-The non-specific response of the biological system, reported by H. Selye, and its specific response, by Canon
-Differentiation of Embryo Stem cell
-Anfinsen Hypothesis and Prusiner Hypothesis

Among a variety of Omics, the membranome seems similar to Lipidome which focuses on the non-water-soluble metabolites (lipids). There is a significant difference between them because of basic definition of the membranome (see above). It is important to discuss he physiological response in biological system based on the membranome, together with genome and proteome, as fundamental knowledge.


Some examples of the unusual response of the bacterial cells and biomolecules have been recognized as practical problems in bioprocess design, resulting that the most process engineers avoid the condition to avoid the above unfavorable response of the biomaterials or system. The basic concept of the membranome has been first introduced by Ryoichi Kuboi, Professor in Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, together with Tsuchido Tetsuaki, Professor in Graduate School of Engineering, Kansai University, in the mini-symposium on “New Frontier of Research on Membrane Stress Biotechnology” (2002.5.25, Osaka Univ.), both of who organized the research group of the Membrane Stress Biotechnology (MSB). In parallel, series symposium on “Engineering Science of Liposome” was organized by R. Kuboi and Peter Walde, Professor in ETH Zurich (2003.6, Shizuoka), creating the research group of Engineering Science of Liposome. The significance of the membranome concept has been discussed through the 1st to 6th symposium on MSB (MSB1~MSB6) and 1st to 6th symposium on ESL (ESL1~ESL6). The basic concept of the membranome and its methodology (Membranomics) have been discussed and finally been defined as a consensus of the participants in the international seminar on “Membranomics” supported by JSPS-SNSF (2008.9.1-3, Osaka University).


Membranomics is the research field or methodology related to preparation, analysis, and application of biological, biomimetic membranes (self-assembled bilayer membranes, liposomes or vesicles) or composite / synthetic membranes, which also include LB-membranes / supported biomimetic membranes / micelles, directing research field towards biological/functional/dynamic membrane

-Hydration & Extrusion / Sonication
-Reversed phase vaporization 
-Electroformation of Giant Vesicle
-Micro-channel method 
-Biomimetic membrane
-Vesicle in vesicle

-Immobilized liposome chromatography
-Liposome immobilized support / sensor (immobilized liposome chromatography)
-Arrayed chip of supported membrane
-Membrane chip
-Liposome-immobilized Microbolometer
-Microdomain observation considering ordered and disordered state
-Analysis of Dynamics of Microphase on membrane
-Control of membrane stress response dynamics

-Stealization of bacteria
-Stressed Membrane mediated bioprocess
-Membrane-based regulation of biological system
-Artificial channel
-LIPOzyme design
-Liposome reactor/Factory
-Metal Removal using biological cell
-Polymer production on membrane
-Drug Delivery System (DDS)
-Membrane Process Chemistry

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