Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Electron Microscopy of Membrane Lipids

  • Toyoshi FujimotoEmail author
  • Yugo Fukazawa
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_564-1



Electron microscopy is a method for examining materials using an electron microscope. Electron microscopes use electrons instead of light, which requires that the objects under study be placed in a high vacuum.

Membrane lipids are lipid molecules that are major structural components of biological membranes. They include glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and cholesterol (or ergosterol in plants).

Basic Characteristics

A lipid bilayer forms the basic structure of most biological membranes. The lipids in the membrane generally consist of phospholipids, sphingolipids, and cholesterol (or ergosterol in plants). The membrane exhibits a two-dimensional fluidity at ambient temperature, meaning that molecules diffuse laterally in the membrane plane. The distance that a molecule can diffuse in a certain time t can be calculated by the equation, d 2 = 4kt (where d is the distance and kis a diffusion coefficient). The diffusion coefficient for...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Molecular Cell BiologyNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Brain Structure and FunctionFaculty of Medical Sciences, University of FukuiYoshida-gunJapan

Section editors and affiliations

  • John M. Seddon
    • 1
  1. 1.Membrane Biophysics Platform, Department of Chemistry and Institute of Chemical BiologyImperial College LondonLondonUK