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Biophys J. 2007 May 15;92(10):3587-94. Epub 2007 Feb 26.

Formation of three-dimensional structures in supported lipid bilayers.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


The creation of three-dimensional structures in supported lipid bilayers has been examined. In bilayers, shape transformations can be triggered by adjusting a variety of parameters. Here, it is shown that bilayers composed of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidic acid can be induced to reversibly form cap structures when exposed to an asymmetry in ionic strength. The structures that form depend on the asymmetry in the ionic strength and the amount of anionic lipid. Other factors that may be of importance in the creation of the structures, expansion forces, osmotic forces, and the bilayer-support interaction are discussed. The cap structures have the potential to be of considerable utility in examining the effect that curvature has on membrane processes.

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