Lipids and Membranes

  • Hans Frauenfelder
Part of the Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering book series (BIOMEDICAL)


Membranes are organized assemblies composed mainly of lipids and proteins. They are highly selective barriers, contain pumps and gates, and are involved in the two most important energy conversion processes, photosynthesis and oxidative phosphorylation. In photosynthesis, light is transformed into chemical energy. In oxidative phosphorylation, energy is gained by the oxidation of energy-rich materials. We will not discuss the chemical functions of membranes, but only sketch some features of their building blocks and their construction and describe some interesting physical properties. Membranes are crucial for the function of cells; an excellent description of the detailed membrane structure and function can be found in texts on cell biology, for instance [1, 2]. The physics of membranes is treated in, for instance, [3]–[6].


Oxidative Phosphorylation Bilayer Membrane Polar Head Group Purple Membrane Excellent Description 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    T. D. Pollard and W. C. Earnshaw. Cell Biology. Saunders, Philadelphia, 2002.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. Alberts, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, and P. Walter. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th edition. Garland Science, New York, 2002.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. Lipowsky and E. Sackmann, editors. Structures and Dynamics of Membrances. Handbook of Biological Physics, Vol. 1A and Vol. 1B. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1995.MATHGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    P. Nelson. Biological Physics. W. H. Freeman, New York, 2004.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    E. Sackmann. In W. Hoppe and R. D. Bauer, editors, Biophysics. Springer, Berlin, 1983, pp. 425–57.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    O. G. Mouritsen. In D. Baeriswyl, M. Droz, A. Malaspinas, and P. Martinoli, editors, Physics in Living Matter (Lecture Notes in Physics, 284). Springer, Berlin, 1987. pp. 77–109.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    O. G. Mouritsen and M. Bloom. Models of lipid-protein interactions in membranes. Ann. Rev. Biophys. Biomol. Struct., 22:145–71, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S. J. Singer and G. L. Nicolson. The fluid mosaic model of the structure of cell membranes. Science, 173:720–31, 1972.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. P. Cartailler and H. Luecke. X-ray crystallographic analysis of lipid-protein interactions in the bacteriorhodopsin purple membrane. Ann. Rev. Biophys. Biomol. Struct., 32:285–310, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Frauenfelder
    • 1
  1. 1.Theory DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

Personalised recommendations