On the lipid flip-flop and phase transition coupling†
We measured the passive lipid flip-flop of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) in solid supported lipid bilayers across their main gel to fluid (Lβ → Lα) phase transition. By performing time and temperature resolved neutron reflectometry experiments, we demonstrated that asymmetric systems prepared in the gel phase are stable for at least 24 hours. Lipid flip-flop was found to be intrinsically linked to the amount of lipid molecules in the fluid phase. Moreover, the increase of this amount during the broad phase transition was found to be the main key factor for the timing of the flip-flop process. By measuring different temperature scan rate, we could demonstrate that, in the case of supported bilayers and for the temperature investigated, the lipid flip flop is characterised by an activation energy of 50 kJ mol−1 and a timescale on the order of few hours. Our results demonstrate the origin on the discrepancies between passive flip-flop in bulk systems and at interfaces.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators