Phase transition behaviors of the supported DPPC bilayer investigated by sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM)†
The phase transition behaviors of a supported bilayer of dipalmitoylphosphatidyl-choline (DPPC) have been systematically evaluated by in situ sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM). By using an asymmetric bilayer composed of per-deuterated and per-protonated monolayers, i.e., DPPC-d75/DPPC and a symmetric bilayer of DPPC/DPPC, we were able to probe the molecular structural changes during the phase transition process of the lipid bilayer by SFG spectroscopy. It was found that the DPPC bilayer is sequentially melted from the top (adjacent to the solution) to bottom leaflet (adjacent to the substrate) over a wide temperature range. The conformational ordering of the supported bilayer does not decrease (even slightly increases) during the phase transition process. The conformational defects in the bilayer can be removed after the complete melting process. The phase transition enthalpy for the bottom leaflet was found to be approximately three times greater than that for the top leaflet, indicating a strong interaction of the lipids with the substrate. The present SFG and AFM observations revealed similar temperature dependent profiles. Based on these results, the temperature-induced structural changes in the supported lipid bilayer during its phase transition process are discussed in comparison with previous studies.