Lateral diffusion of lipids in the DMPG membrane across the anomalous melting regime: effects of NaCl†
The anionic dimyristoyl phosphatidylglycerol (DMPG) membrane in solvents with a low ionic strength is known to exhibit an unusually wide melting regime between the gel and fluid phase characterized by various anomalous macroscopic characteristics, such as low turbidity and high electrical conductivity and viscosity. A recent neutron spin echo study [Kelley, E. G. et al., Struct. Dyn., 7 (2020) 054704] revealed that during the extended melting phase transition the DMPG membrane becomes softer and exhibits faster collective bending fluctuation compared to the higher temperature fluid phase. In contrast, in the present work, using incoherent quasielastic neutron scattering through the anomalous phase transition regime we find that single-particle lateral and internal lipid motions in the DMPG membrane show regular temperature dependence, with no enhanced dynamics evident in the anomalous melting regime. Further, we find that incorporation of NaCl in DMPG suppresses the anomalous extended melting regime, concurrently enhancing the single-particle lipid dynamics, both the lateral diffusivity and (to a lesser extent) the internal lipid motion. This seems rather counterintuitive and in variance with the dynamic suppression effect exerted by a salt on a zwitterionic membrane. However, since incorporation of a salt in anionic DMPG leads to enhanced cooperativity, the disrupted cooperativity in the salt-free DMPG is associated with the baseline lipid dynamics that is suppressed to begin with, whereas addition of salt partially restores the cooperativity, thus enhancing lipid dynamics compared to the salt-free baseline DMPG membrane state. These results provide new insights into the ion-membrane interaction and divulge a correlation between microscopic dynamics and the structure of the lipid bilayer.