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European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 901–913 | Cite as

Effect of cholesterol on the lateral nanoscale dynamics of fluid membranes

  • Clare L. Armstrong
  • Matthew A. Barrett
  • Arno Hiess
  • Tim Salditt
  • John Katsaras
  • An-Chang Shi
  • Maikel C. Rheinstädter
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Inelastic neutron scattering was used to study the effect of 5 and 40 mol% cholesterol on the lateral nanoscale dynamics of phospholipid membranes. By measuring the excitation spectrum at several lateral q || values (up to q || = 3 Å−1), complete dispersion curves were determined of gel, fluid and liquid-ordered phase bilayers. The inclusion of cholesterol had a distinct effect on the collective dynamics of the bilayer’s hydrocarbon chains; specifically, we observed a pronounced stiffening of the membranes on the nanometer length scale in both gel and fluid bilayers, even though they were experiencing a higher degree of molecular disorder. Also, for the first time we determined the nanoscale dynamics in the high-cholesterol liquid-ordered phase of bilayers containing cholesterol. Namely, this phase appears to be “softer” than fluid bilayers, but better ordered than bilayers in the gel phase.

Keywords

Lipid membrane Cholesterol Lateral membrane dynamics Nanoscale dynamics Liquid-ordered phase Inelastic neutron scattering Dispersion relation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the National Research Council Canada (NRC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. John Katsaras is supported by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Program Development (PD) and Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) programs.

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare L. Armstrong
    • 1
  • Matthew A. Barrett
    • 1
  • Arno Hiess
    • 2
  • Tim Salditt
    • 3
  • John Katsaras
    • 4
    • 5
  • An-Chang Shi
    • 1
  • Maikel C. Rheinstädter
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.European Spallation Source ESS ABLundSweden
  3. 3.Institute for X-Ray PhysicsGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  4. 4.Neutron Sciences DirectorateOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  5. 5.Canadian Neutron Beam CentreNational Research CouncilChalk RiverCanada

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