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Influence of Phase Transitions on Diffusive Molecular Transport Across Biological Membranes

Von Wiley-VCH zur Verfügung gestellt

Diffusive transport of a hydrophobic cation, measured with nonlinear light scattering, across the membrane of liposomes composed of E. coli lipid extracts increases dramatically at membrane phase transition temperatures.


Phase transitions of lipid bilayer membranes should affect passive transport of molecules. While this hypothesis has been used to design drug-releasing thermosensitive liposomes, the effect has yet to be quantified. Herein, we use time-resolved second harmonic light scattering to measure transport of a molecular cation across membranes of unilamellar liposomes composed of the total lipid extract of E. coli from 9 °C to 36 °C, in which two distinct phase transitions (gel to liquid-disordered phase) have been identified. While the transport rate slowly increases with temperature as a diffusion process, dramatic jumps are observed at 14.7 °C and 27.6 °C, the known phase transitions. The transport rate constant measured as (7.3±0.8)×10−3 s−1 in the liquid-disordered phase at 36 °C is 35-times faster than (2.1±0.2)×10−4 s−1 of the gel phase at 9 °C. For the mixed-phase between these two phases, the measured rates are consistent with a structure of gel domains among a liquid-disordered bulk.

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