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Zimmermann, R. ; Küttner, D. ; Renner, L. ; Kaufmann, M. ; Werner, C.
Fluidity modulation of phospholipid bilayers by electrolyte ions: Insights from fluorescence microscopy and microslit electrokinetic experiments

Fluidity and charging of supported bilayer lipid membranes (sBLMs) prepared from 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) were studied by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and microslit electrokinetic measurements at varying pH and ionic composition of the electrolyte. Measurements in neutral electrolytes (KCl, NaCl) revealed a strong correlation between the membrane fluidity and the membrane charging due to unsymmetrical water ion adsorption (OH– H3O+). The membrane fluidity significantly decreased below the isoelectric point of 3.9, suggesting a phase transition in the bilayer. The interactions of both chaotropic anions and strongly kosmotropic cations with the zwitterionic lipids were found to be related with nearly unhindered lipid mobility in the acidic pH range. While for the chaotropic anions the observed effect correlates with the increased negative net charge at low pH, no correlation was found between the changes in the membrane fluidity and charge in the presence of kosmotropic cations. We discuss the observed phenomena with respect to the interaction of the electrolyte ions with the lipid headgroup and the influence of this process on the headgroup orientation and hydration as well as on the lipid packaging.

Journal of Physical Chemistry / A: Molecules, spectroscopy, kinetics, environment & general theory 116, 6519–6525


May 2012