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Title: Line tension controls liquid-disordered + liquid-ordered domain size transition in lipid bilayers

To better understand animal cell plasma membranes, we studied simplified models, namely four-component lipid bilayer mixtures. Here we describe the domain size transition in the region of coexisting liquid-disordered (Ld) + liquid-ordered (Lo) phases. This transition occurs abruptly in composition space with domains increasing in size by two orders of magnitude, from tens of nanometers to microns. We measured the line tension between coexisting Ld and Lo domains close to the domain size transition for a variety of lipid mixtures, finding that in every case the transition occurs at a line tension of ~0.3 pN. A computational model incorporating line tension and dipole repulsion indicated that even small changes in line tension can result in domains growing in size by several orders of magnitude, consistent with experimental observations. Lastly, we find that other properties of the coexisting Ld and Lo phases do not change significantly in the vicinity of the abrupt domain size transition.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [7] ;  [1]
  1. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)
  2. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States); Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (United States)
  3. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States); Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX (United States)
  4. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States); Harvard Univ., Boston, MA (United States)
  5. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States); Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  6. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States); Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA (United States)
  7. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Biophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 112; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0006-3495
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Spallation Neutron Source (SNS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1351775; OSTI ID: 1398313