The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

Membrane bilayer assembly in neural tissue of rat and squid as a critical phenomenon: Influence of temperature and membrane proteins

  • Lionel Ginsberg
  • Daniel L. Gilbert
  • Norman L. Gershfeld


Cell membrane bilayers have been reconstructed in vitro utilizing total lipid extracts from rat neural tissue (forebrain, cerebellum, brainstem and spinal cord) and from the optic lobe and fin nerve of the squidLoligo pealei. In agreement with the critical state theory of bilayer assembly (Gershfeld, N.L. 1986.Biophys. J.50:457–461; Gershfeld, N.L. 1989.J. Phys. Chem.93:5256–5261), these lipid extracts spontaneously formed purely unilamellar structures in aqueous dispersion, but only at a critical temperature,T*, which was species dependent. For all the rat tissuesT*=37±1°C; for squid neural extractsT*=15.5±1.4°C. These values correspond to ‘physiological’ temperatures for both organisms, implying that their lipid metabolism is geared to permit spontaneous assembly of unilamellar membranes at the ambient temperature in the tissues. Membrane protein composition had little or no effect on critical bilayer formation.

Key Words

bilayer assembly neural membranes critical temperature 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Ginsberg
    • 1
  • Daniel L. Gilbert
    • 2
  • Norman L. Gershfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Physical Biology, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseaseNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biophysics, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda

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