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Biophys J. 1998 Aug;75(2):917-25.

Structure and interactions of fully hydrated dioleoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213 USA.


This study focuses on dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) bilayers near full hydration. Volumetric data and high-resolution synchrotron x-ray data are used in a method that compares DOPC with well determined gel phase dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC). The key structural quantity obtained is fully hydrated area/lipid A0 = 72.2 +/- 1.1 A2 at 30 degrees C, from which other quantities such as thickness of the bilayer are obtained. Data for samples over osmotic pressures from 0 to 56 atmospheres give an estimate for the area compressibility of KA = 188 dyn/cm. Obtaining the continuous scattering transform and electron density profiles requires correction for liquid crystal fluctuations. Quantitation of these fluctuations opens an experimental window on the fluctuation pressure, the primary repulsive interaction near full hydration. The fluctuation pressure decays exponentially with water spacing, in agreement with analytical results for soft confinement. However, the ratio of decay length lambda(fl) = 5.8 A to hydration pressure decay length lambda = 2.2 A is significantly larger than the value of 2 predicted by analytical theory and close to the ratio obtained in recent simulations. We also obtain the traditional osmotic pressure versus water spacing data. Our analysis of these data shows that estimates of the Hamaker parameter H and the bending modulus Kc are strongly coupled.

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