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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2011 May 1;84(1):44-8. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2010.12.010. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Chain elongation of diacylphosphatidylcholine induces fully bilayer interdigitation under atmospheric pressure.

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Department of Life System, Institute of Technology and Science, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.


The phase transitions of dibehenoylphosphatidylcholine (C22PC) bilayer membrane were observed by differential scanning calorimetry under atmospheric pressure and light-transmittance measurements under high pressure. The constructed temperature-pressure phase diagram suggests that the gel phase at low temperatures is the interdigitated gel phase. To confirm the phase state, we performed small-angle neutron scattering and fluorescence measurements using a polarity-sensitive probe Prodan for the C22PC bilayer membrane under atmospheric pressure. The peaks obtained in both measurements clearly showed the characteristic patterns of the fully interdigitated gel phase. Taking into account of previous studies on the gel phase for long-chain PC bilayers under atmospheric pressure and our studies on the pressure-induced bilayer interdigitaion of diacyl-PCs, it turned out that the interdigitation of diacyl-PC bilayer membranes occurs when the carbon number of acyl chain reaches at least 22. The present study revealed that the interdigitation of PC bilayer membranes occurs not only by weakening the attractive force of polar head groups but also by strengthening the cohesive force of acyl chains. When dominating the force of acyl chains, the interdigitation can be induced even in a diacyl-PC bilayer membrane by only hydration under atmospheric pressure.

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