Effect of temperature on the structure of charged membranes

Pablo Szekely, Tom Dvir, Roi Asor, Roi Resh, Ariel Steiner, Or Szekely, Avi Ginsburg, Jonathan Mosenkis, Vicky Guralnick, Yoav Dan, Tamar Wolf, Carmen Tamburu, Uri Raviv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Interactions between charged and neutral self-assembled phospholipid membranes are well understood and take into account temperature dependence. Yet, the manner in which the structure of the membrane is affected by temperature was hardly studied. Here we study the effect of temperature on the thickness, area per lipid, and volume per lipid of charged membranes. Two types of membranes were studied: membranes composed of charged lipids and dipolar (neutral) membranes that adsorbed divalent cations and became charged. Small-angle X-ray scattering data demonstrate that the thickness of charged membranes decreases with temperature. Wide-angle X-ray scattering data show that the area per headgroup increases with temperature. Intrinsically charged membranes linearly thin with temperature, whereas neutral membranes that adsorb divalent ions and become charged show an exponential decrease of their thickness. The data indicate that, on average, the tails shorten as the temperature rises. We attribute this behavior to higher lipid tail entropy and to the weaker electrostatic screening of the charged headgroups, by their counterions, at elevated temperatures. The latter effect leads to stronger electrostatic repulsion between the charged headgroups that increases the area per headgroup and decreases the bilayer thickness.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)14501-14506
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number49
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2011


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