Intrinsic molecules in lipid membranes change the lipid-domain interfacial area: cholesterol at domain interfaces

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A theoretical analysis of the effects of intrinsic molecules on the lateral density fluctuations in lipid bilayer membranes is carried out by means of computer simulations on a microscopic interaction model of the gel-to-fluid chain-melting phase transition. The inhomogeneous equilibrium structures of gel and fluid domains, which in previous work (Cruzerio-Hansson, L. and Mouritsen, O.G. (1988) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 944, 63-72) were shown to characterize the transition region of pure lipid membranes, are here shown to be enhanced by intrinsic molecules such as cholesterol. Cholesterol is found to increase the interfacial area and to accumulate in the interfaces. The interfacial area, the average cluster size, the lateral compressibility, and the membrane area are calculated as functions of temperature and cholesterol concentration. It is shown that the enhancement by cholesterol of the lateral density fluctuations and the lipid-domain interfacial area is most pronounced away from the transition temperature. The implications of the results are discussed in relation to passive ion permeability and function of interfacially active enzymes such as phospholipase.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)166-176
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Cholesterol, Density fluctuation, Heterogeneity, Interface active molecule, Lateral compressibility, Lipid bilayer, Phase transition

ID: 238387576