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Magnetically aligned phospholipid bilayers with positive ordering: a new model membrane system.

  • R S Prosser
  • J S Hwang
  • R R Vold
Publication Date
May 01, 1998
  • Physics


A stable smectic phospholipid bilayer phase aligned with the director parallel to the magnetic field can be generated by the addition of certain trivalent paramagnetic lanthanide ions to a bicellar solution of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine (DHPC) in water. Suitable lanthanide ions are those with positive anisotropy of their magnetic susceptibility, namely Eu3+, Er3+, Tm3+, and Yb3+. For samples doped with Tm3+, this phase extends over a wide range of Tm3+ concentrations (6-40 mM) and temperatures (35-90 degrees C) and appears to undergo a transition from a fluid nematic discotic to a fluid, but highly ordered, smectic phase at a temperature that depends on the thulium concentration. As a membrane mimetic, these new, positively ordered phospholipid phases have high potential for structural studies using a variety of techniques such as magnetic resonance (EMR and NMR), small-angle x-ray and neutron diffraction, as well as optical and infrared spectroscopy.


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