Graphene-based sensing of oxygen transport through pulmonary membranes

Mijung Kim, Marilyn Porras-Gomez, Cecilia Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipid-protein complexes are the basis of pulmonary surfactants covering the respiratory surface and mediating gas exchange in lungs. Cardiolipin is a mitochondrial lipid overexpressed in mammalian lungs infected by bacterial pneumonia. In addition, increased oxygen supply (hyperoxia) is a pathological factor also critical in bacterial pneumonia. In this paper we fabricate a micrometer-size graphene-based sensor to measure oxygen permeation through pulmonary membranes. Combining oxygen sensing, X-ray scattering, and Atomic Force Microscopy, we show that mammalian pulmonary membranes suffer a structural transformation induced by cardiolipin. We observe that cardiolipin promotes the formation of periodic protein–free inter–membrane contacts with rhombohedral symmetry. Membrane contacts, or stalks, promote a significant increase in oxygen gas permeation which may bear significance for alveoli gas exchange imbalance in pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1103
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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