Accelerated interleaflet transport of phosphatidylcholine molecules in membranes under deformation.


Biological membranes are lamellar structures composed of two leaflets capable of supporting different mechanical stresses. Stress differences between leaflets were generated during micromechanical experiments in which long thin tubes of lipid (tethers) were formed from the surfaces of giant phospholipid vesicles. A recent dynamic analysis of this experiment predicts the relaxation of local differences in leaflet stress by lateral slip between the leaflets. Differential stress may also relax by interleaflet transport of lipid molecules ("flip-flop"). In this report, we extend the former analysis to include interleaflet lipid transport. We show that transmembrane lipid flux will evidence itself as a linear increase in tether length with time after a step reduction in membrane tension. Multiple measurements were performed on 24 different vesicles composed of stearoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine plus 3% dinitrophenol-linked di-oleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine. These tethers all exhibited a linear phase of growth with a mean value of the rate of interlayer permeation, cp = 0.009 s-1. This corresponds to a half-time of approximately 8 min for mechanically driven interleaflet transport. This value is found to be consistent with longer times obtained for chemically driven transport if the lipids cross the membrane via transient, localized defects in the bilayer.

Documentos Relacionados