Structural and Dynamic Aspects of Membrane Lipids

  • R. A. Demel


Current concepts on the structure of biological membranes depict the membrane as a liquid crystalline lipid bilayer with embedded protein structures. It is assumed that the proteins are responsible for specific properties as signal transduction and membrane transport whereas the lipids provide a fluid matrix and impermeable barrier. Although one suitable type of lipid could accomplish the requirements of a fluid matrix biological membranes are built of complex mixtures of lipids, showing variations in polar headgroups, charge, length and unsaturation of paraffin chains and sterol content. Large differences in composition can be noted between membranes with different functions. This raises the question whether a complex lipid composition is a funcitonal requirement and if lipids contribute in a more specific way to membrane functions.


Acyl Chain Methyl Ether Liquid Crystalline Phase Molecular Area Charged Lipid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Demel
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of BiochemistryState University of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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