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Issue 20, 2012
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Cholesterol tilting drives phase separation in lipid bilayer membranes

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Abstract

We present a theory that predicts that cholesterol molecules phase separate from multicomponent lipid bilayer membranes, but not from monolayers of the same composition. In our model, the tilting of cholesterol molecules in monolayers is not energetically favorable because their exocyclic chains are very short. However, in bilayers, two correlated cholesterol molecules in the opposing leaflets of bilayers can form “dimers”, whose chains are effectively twice as long and can tilt cooperatively. Our theory predicts that the cooperative tilting of these dimers drives the phase separations of cholesterol in bilayers.

Graphical abstract: Cholesterol tilting drives phase separation in lipid bilayer membranes

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Feb 2012, accepted on 27 Mar 2012 and first published on 11 Apr 2012


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25343G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 5439-5442
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    Cholesterol tilting drives phase separation in lipid bilayer membranes

    T. Yamamoto and S. A. Safran, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 5439
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25343G

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