Lipids in Membranes Speak the Language of Curvature

Mar 18, 2010, 9:00 AM
Nordita Seminar Room 132:028 (Nordita)

Nordita Seminar Room 132:028



Ole Mouritsen


The physical properties of the lamellar lipid-bilayer component of biological membranes is controlled by a host of thermodynamic forces leading to overall tensionless bilayers with a conspicuous lateral pressure profile and build-in curvature-stress instabilities that may be released locally or globally in terms morphological changes. In particular, the average molecular shape and the propensity of the different lipid and protein species for forming non-lamellar and curved structures are a source of structural transitions and control of biological function. I will discuss the effects of different lipids, sterols, and proteins on membrane structure and show how one can take advantage of the curvature-stress modulations brought about by specific molecular agents, such as fatty acids, lysolipids, and other amphiphilic solutes, to construct intelligent drug-delivery systems that function by enzymatic triggering of curvature.

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