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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Biophysical Journal, 1981, Vol.33(2), pp.167-187
    Description: Equilibrium properties of a model lipid bilayer saturated with an n-alkane are presented. The model exhibits a cut-off in absorption as the chain length of the alkane increases which is similar to that observed with black lipid films. The reasons for this cut-off are explored in detail. The model provides qualitative agreement with the experimental enthalpies of transfer of the various alkanes from bulk pure liquid to the bilayer, and with results of electrical compression experiments on black films. Distributions of alkane across the bilayer for different volume fractions in the membrane are presented. For small volume fractions of alkane, its distribution is fairly even across the bilayer and the alkane chains line up essentially parallel to the lipid chains. For larger volume fractions, the alkane distribution is strongly peaked in the center of the membrane. The alkane chains in the outer regions of the membrane line up essentially parallel to the lipid chains, while those in the center are almost completely disordered. The model suggests that the chains (both lipid and alkane) are in an essentially liquid state with no well defined interface between opposing monolayers. It gives a possible explanation for the discrepancy between the experimental free energy of thinning of some lipid membranes formed from the longer chain length alkanes and the theoretical values estimated from Lifshitz's theory.
    Keywords: Biology
    ISSN: 0006-3495
    E-ISSN: 1542-0086
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