The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 45, Issue 1–2, pp 109–123 | Cite as

Theory of lipid bilayer phase transitions as detected by fluorescent probes

  • Juan Yguerabide
  • Margaret C. Foster


We present a quantitative theory that relates the fluorescence intensityvs. temperature (I vs. T) profile of a fluorescent-labeled two-component lipid bilayer to the phase diagram of the bilayer and the partition coefficientK of the fluorophore between fluid and solid phases of the bilayer. We show how the theory can be used to evaluateK from experimentalI vs. T profiles and the appropriate phase diagrams as well as to understand the different shapes ofI vs. T profiles obtained with particular fluorophores and phase diagrams. Using calculatedI vs. T graphs, we discuss the meaning of parameters, such as midpoint of the phase transition and onset and termination of a transition, which are often used to characterize phase transitions on the basis of fluorescence intensityvs. temperature profiles.


Lipid Phase Diagram Human Physiology Temperature Profile Phase Transition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Yguerabide
    • 1
  • Margaret C. Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla

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