Membrane fusion intermediates and the effect of cholesterol: An in-house X-ray scattering study

Regular Article

Abstract

We have developed an X-ray scattering setup which allows to study membrane fusion intermediates or other nonlamellar lipid mesophases by laboratory-scale X-ray sources alone, thus taking advantage of unrestricted beamtime compared to synchrotron sources. We report results of a study of pure lipid bilayers and phospholipid/cholesterol binary mixtures. Stalks, putative intermediate structures occurring during the membrane fusion process, can clearly be identified from reconstructed electron density maps. Phase diagrams of the lyotropic phase behavior of DOPC/cholesterol and DPhPC/cholesterol samples are presented. If cholesterol is present in moderate concentrations, it can substantially promote the formation of stalks at higher degree of hydration. In addition, a possibly new phase in DOPC/cholesterol is found at high cholesterol content in the low humidity range.

PACS

87.64.Bx Electron, neutron and X-ray diffraction and scattering 87.16.dt Structure, static correlations, domains and rafts 87.16.D- Membranes, bilayers and vesicles 87.15.Zg Phase transitions 

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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Aeffner
    • 1
  • T. Reusch
    • 1
  • B. Weinhausen
    • 1
  • T. Salditt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für RöntgenphysikGöttingenGermany

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