The effect of pH on the dynamics of natural membranes

  • M. Guiral
  • C. Neitzel
  • M. Salvador Castell
  • N. Martinez
  • M. T. Giudici-Orticoni
  • J. Peters
Regular Article


Pure phospholipids and membrane fragments from bacterial cells living under various conditions were studied against the influence of the surrounding acidity on the internal dynamics. For that we compared mean square displacements extracted from elastic incoherent neutron scattering data, measured both at low and at neutral pH, of the phospholipids 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and of samples from neutralophilic and acidophilic micro-organisms (some being hyperthermophilic and others mesophilic). The lipids showed a slight shift in the phase transition temperature of about 4 degrees under pH variation and became slightly more mobile at lower pH. The membrane fragments not used to extreme acidic conditions were significantly more sensitive to variations in the pH values, whereas the acidophilic and -tolerant samples were much less influenced by this parameter. They presented the higher softness at low pH, which was closer to their native condition. Such findings might be a hint for adaptation mechanisms to different acidity conditions.

Graphical abstract


Living systems: Structure and Function 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Guiral
    • 1
  • C. Neitzel
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Salvador Castell
    • 2
    • 3
  • N. Martinez
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. T. Giudici-Orticoni
    • 1
  • J. Peters
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, BIPMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, LiPhyGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Institut Laue LangevinGrenobleFrance

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