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J Membr Biol. 1983;75(1):45-56.

Monolayer black membranes from bipolar lipids of archaebacteria and their temperature-induced structural changes.


The membrane of Caldariella acidophila, an extreme thermophilic archaebacterium, is characterized by unusual bipolar complex lipids. They consist of two nonequivalent polar heads, linked by a C40 alkylic component. The molecular organization of these lipids in the plasma membrane is still a matter of study. In this paper, we present current-voltage measurements on artificial bipolar lipid membranes, indicating that molecules are indeed organized as a covalently bound bilayer, in which each molecule is completely stretched and spans its entire thickness. Furthermore, conformational transitions of these artificial membranes (which could be formed only above 70 degrees C from a lipid/squalene dispersion) are analyzed in the 80 to 15 degrees C temperature range. Abrupt variations in capacitance and valinomycin-induced conductance seem to indicate the occurrence of at least two structural changes. Measurements are also extended to different solvent systems. Results are consistent with the picture of a monolayer bipolar lipid membrane in which few solvent molecules align themselves parallel to the lipophilic chains. The amount of solvent as well as the temperature at which conformational transitions occur, depend on the solvent system in which the lipid is dispersed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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