Water and Lipid Bilayers

  • Jonathan D. NickelsEmail author
  • John KatsarasEmail author
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 71)


Water is crucial to the structure and function of biological membranes. In fact, the membrane’s basic structural unit, i.e. the lipid bilayer, is self-assembled and stabilized by the so-called hydrophobic effect, whereby lipid molecules unable to hydrogen bond with water aggregate in order to prevent their hydrophobic portions from being exposed to water. However, this is just the beginning of the lipid-bilayer-water relationship. This mutual interaction defines vesicle stability in solution, controls small molecule permeation, and defines the spacing between lamella in multi-lamellar systems, to name a few examples. This chapter will describe the structural and dynamical properties central to these, and other water- lipid bilayer interactions.


Permeation Water distribution Dynamics 



Support for the authors was received from the Department of Energy (DOE), Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) through Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. DOE under contract no. DE-AC05-00OR2275. JDN was partially supported through EPSCoR grant no. DEFG02-08ER46528.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joint Institute for Neutron SciencesOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Biology & Soft Matter and Biosciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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