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Electrostatic interactions at the microscale modulate dynamics and distribution of lipids in bilayers

A Mangiarotti & N Wilke, Soft Matter, 2016

For decades, it has been assumed that electrostatic long-range (micron distances) repulsions in lipid bilayers are negligible due to screening from the aqueous milieu. This concept, mostly derived from theoretical calculations, is broadly accepted in the biophysical community. Here we present experimental evidence showing that domain-domain electrostatic repulsions in charged and also in neutral lipid bilayers regulate the diffusion, in-plane structuring and merging of lipid domains in the micron range. All the experiments were performed on both, lipid monolayers and bilayers, and the remarkable similarity in the results found in bilayers compared to monolayers led us to propose that inter-domain repulsions occur mainly within the plane of the membrane. Finally, our results indicate that electrostatic interactions between the species inserted in a cell membrane are not negligible, not only at nanometric but also at larger distances, suggesting another manner for regulating the membrane properties.

Authors: A Mangiarotti, N Wilke

Article: A Mangiarotti & N Wilke, Soft Matter. 2016 Dec 23. doi: 10.1039/c6sm01957a.