Home
For authors
Submission status

Archive
Archive (English)
Current
      Volume 107
      Volume 106
      Volume 105
      Volume 104
      Volume 103
      Volume 102
      Volume 101
      Volume 100
      Volume 99
      Volume 98
      Volume 97
      Volume 96
      Volume 95
      Volume 94
      Volume 93
Search
VOLUME 107 | ISSUE 11 | PAGE 753
Microscopic description of thermodynamics of Lipid Membrane at Liquid-Gel Phase Transition
Abstract
A microscopic model of the lipid membrane is constructed that provides analytically tractable description of the physical mechanism of the first order liquid-gel phase transition. We demonstrate that liquid-gel phase transition is cooperative effect of the three major interactions: inter-lipid van der Waals attraction, steric repulsion and hydrophobic tension. The model explicitly shows that temperature-dependent inter-lipid steric repulsion switches the system from liquid to gel phase when the temperature decreases. The switching manifests itself in the increase of lateral compressibility of the lipids as the temperature decreases, making phase with smaller area more preferable below the transition temperature. The model gives qualitatively correct picture of abrupt change at transition temperature of the area per lipid, membrane thickness and volume per hydrocarbon group in the lipid chains. The calculated dependence of phase transition temperature on lipid chain length is in quantitative agreement with experimental data. Steric repulsion between the lipid molecules is shown to be the only driver of the phase transition, as van der Waals attraction and hydrophobic tension are weakly temperature dependent.