Bridges of Calcium Bicarbonate Tightly Couple Dipolar Lipid Membranes

Lea Fink, Christoph Allolio, Jehuda Feitelson, Carmen Tamburu, Daniel Harries*, Uri Raviv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The interaction between lipid membranes and ions is associated with a range of key physiological processes. Most earlier studies have focused on the interaction of lipids with cations, while the specific effects of the anions have been largely overlooked. Owing to dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide, bicarbonate is an important ubiquitous anion in aqueous media. In this paper, we report on the effect of bicarbonate anions on the interactions between dipolar lipid membranes in the presence of previously adsorbed calcium cations. Using a combination of solution X-ray scattering, osmotic stress, and molecular dynamics simulations, we followed the interactions between 1,2-didodecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DLPC) lipid membranes that were dialyzed against CaCl2 solutions in the presence and absence of bicarbonate anions. Calcium cations adsorbed onto DLPC membranes, charge them, and lead to their swelling. In the presence of bicarbonate anions, however, the calcium cations can tightly couple one dipolar DLPC membrane to the other and form a highly condensed and dehydrated lamellar phase with a repeat distance of 3.45 ± 0.02 nm. Similar tight condensation and dehydration has only been observed between charged membranes in the presence of multivalent counterions. Bridging between bilayers by calcium bicarbonate complexes induced this arrangement. Furthermore, in this condensed phase, lipid molecules and adsorbed ions were arranged in a two-dimensional oblique lattice.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)10715-10724
Number of pages10
Issue number36
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2020

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Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.


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