What Determines the Thickness of a Biological Membrane

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TypeArticle
Journal titleGeneral Physiology and Biophysics
Volume28
Pages117125; # of pages: 9
Subjectphospholipid bilayer; cholesterol; bilayer thickness; neutron di raction; contrast variation
AbstractMembrane thickness is thought to play a key role in protein function. Thus understanding the cell’s ability to modulate the thickness of its membranes is essential in elucidating the structure/ function relationship in biological membranes. We have investigated the influence of cholesterol on the structure of “thin” (diC14:1PC) and “thick” (diC22:1PC) phospholipid bilayers using oriented multibilayers and small angle neutron di raction. Neutron contrast variation was used to determine the structure factors and the distribution of water across the bilayers. We found that in response to cholesterol, bilayer thickness changed in a similar fashion in both systems. The thickening of bilayers was rationalized in terms of cholesterol’s ordering effect on the lipid’s acyl chains, which dominates over the other option of rectifying the hydrophobic mismatch, surprisingly even in the case of diC22:1PC and cholesterol.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number14829322
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Record identifier407199b7-1b87-40a6-9cf4-e7cb73536b36
Record created2011-02-15
Record modified2016-05-09
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