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Phase Separations In Phospholipid Membranes

S. H. Wu, H. Mcconnell
Published 1975 · Chemistry

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Phase diagrams representing lateral phase separations in the plane of lipid bilayer membranes have been determined for binary mixtures containing dielaidoylphosphatidylcholine together with dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine, dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, distearoylphosphatidylcholine, dioleoylphosphatidylcholine, and dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine. The phase diagrams were deduced from observations of the temperature dependence of the paramagnetic resonance spectra of low concentrations of spin-labels incorporated in these bilayer membranes. In one case, the binary mixture of dipalmitoylphosphatidylethamine and dielaidoylphosphatidylcholine, evidence has been obtained for fluid-fluid immiscibility, in specified temperature and compoistion ranges. This immiscibility could give a lateral phase separation into fluid domains in the plane of the membrane, and/or a transverse phase separation into an asymmetrical bilayer membrane, and/or possibly disco ntinuous bilayer membranes of different composition. An asymmetrical bilayer membrane can be expected on theoretical grounds to form a nonplanar membrane.
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