• Measurement of repulsive forces between charged phospholipid bilayers

      Cowley, Alexandra Christina.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1979-07-09)
      Electrostatic forces between membranes containing charged lipids were assumed to play an important role in influencing interactions between membranes long before quantitative measurements of such forces were available. ~ur measurements were designed to measure electrostatic forces between layers of lecithin charged with lipi~s carrying ionizable head groups. These experiments have shown that the interactions between charged lipid bila.yere are dominated by electrostatic forces only at separations greater than 30 A. At smaller separations the repulsion between charged bilayers is dominated by strong hydration forces. The net repulsive force between egg lecithin bilayers containing various amounts of cherged lipids (phosphatidylglycerol (PG) 5,10 ano 50 mole%, phosphatidyli. nosi tol (PI) 10 mole% and sodium oleate (Na-Ol) 3,5 and 10 mole%, where mole% gives the ratio of the number of moles' of .charged lipid to the total number of moles of all lipids present in the sample) was stuoied with the help ('If the osmotic streas technique described by LeNeveu et aI, (1977). Also, the forces between pure PG were j_nvestigated in the same manner. The results have been plotted showing variation of force as a function of bilay- _ er separation dw• All curVes 90 obtained called force curves, were found to be similar in sha.pe, showing two distinct regions, one when dw<.30 A is a region cf very rapid iiivariation of force with separation ( it is the region dominated by hydre,tion force) and second when dw> 40 A is a region of very slow variation of force with separB.tion ( it is the region dominated by the electrostatic force). Between these two regions there exists a transition area in which, in most systems studied, a phase separation of lipids into fractions containing different amounts of charged groups, was observed. A qualitative analysis showed that our results were v/ell described by the simple electrostatic double -le.yer theory. For quantitative agreement between measured and calculated force curves however, the charge density for the calculations had to be taken as half of that given by the number density of charged lipids present in the lecithin bilayers. It is not clear at the moment what causes such low apparent degree of ionization among the charged head groups, and further study is needed in this area.