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Issue 23, 2010
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Diffusion in single supported lipid bilayers studied by quasi-elastic neutron scattering

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Abstract

It seems to be increasingly accepted that the diversity and composition of lipids play an important role in the function of biological membranes. A prime example of this is the case of lipid rafts; regions enriched with certain types of lipids which are speculated to be relevant to the proper functioning of membrane embedded proteins. Although the dynamics of membrane systems have been studied for decades, the microscopic dynamics of lipid molecules, even in simple model systems, is still an active topic of debate. Neutron scattering has proven to be an important tool for accessing the relevant nanometre length scale and nano to picosecond time scales, thus providing complimentary information to macroscopic techniques. Despite their potential relevance for the development of functionalized surfaces and biosensors, the study of single supported membranes using neutron scattering poses the challenge of obtaining relevant dynamic information from a sample with minimal material. Using state of the art neutron instrumentation we were, for the first time, able to model lipid diffusion in single supported lipid bilayers. We find that the diffusion coefficient for the single bilayer system is comparable to the multi-lamellar lipid system. More importantly, the molecular mechanism for lipid motion in the single bilayer was found to be a continuous diffusion, rather than the flow-like ballistic motion reported in the stacked membrane system. We observed an enhanced diffusion at the nearest neighbour distance of the lipid molecules. The enhancement and change of character of the diffusion can most likely be attributed to the effect the supporting substrate has on the lipid organization.

Graphical abstract: Diffusion in single supported lipid bilayers studied by quasi-elastic neutron scattering

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Jul 2010, accepted on 17 Sep 2010 and first published on 12 Oct 2010


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00637H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2010,6, 5864-5867
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    Diffusion in single supported lipid bilayers studied by quasi-elastic neutron scattering

    C. L. Armstrong, M. D. Kaye, M. Zamponi, E. Mamontov, M. Tyagi, T. Jenkins and M. C. Rheinstädter, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5864
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00637H

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