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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jan;1788(1):72-85. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2008.08.007. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Thermodynamics of lipid interactions in complex bilayers.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA.


The mutual interactions between lipids in bilayers are reviewed, including mixtures of phospholipids, and mixtures of phospholipids and cholesterol (Chol). Binary mixtures and ternary mixtures are considered, with special emphasis on membranes containing Chol, an ordered phospholipid, and a disordered phospholipid. Typically the ordered phospholipid is a sphingomyelin (SM) or a long-chain saturated phosphatidylcholine (PC), both of which have high phase transitions temperatures; the disordered phospholipid is 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC) or dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC). The unlike nearest-neighbor interaction free energies (omega(AB)) between lipids (including Chol), obtained by an variety of unrelated methods, are typically in the range of 0-400 cal/mol in absolute value. Most are positive, meaning that the interaction is unfavorable, but some are negative, meaning it is favorable. It is of special interest that favorable interactions occur mainly between ordered phospholipids and Chol. The interpretation of domain formation in complex mixtures of Chol and phospholipids in terms of phase separation or condensed complexes is discussed in the light of the values of lipid mutual interactions.

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