Phases of phosphatidyl ethanolamine monolayers studied by synchrotron x-ray scattering

C.A. Helm, P. Tippmann-Krayer, H. Möhwald, J. Als-Nielsen, K. Kjær

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    For the first time, phospholid monolayers at the air/water interface have been studied by x-ray diffraction and reflection all along the isotherm from the laterally isotropic fluid (the so-called LE phase) to the ordered phases. The model used to analyze the data, and the accuracy of the parameters deduced, were tested by comparing the results obtained with two lipids having the same head group but different chain lengths.

    Compression of the fluid phase leads predominantly to a change of thickness of the hydrophobic moiety, much less of its density, with the head group extension remaining constant. The main transition involves a considerable increase (approximately 10%) of the electron density in the hydrophobic region, a dehydration of the head group and a positional ordering of the aliphatic tails, albeit with low coherence lengths (approximately 10 spacings). On further compression of the film, the ordered phase undergoes a continuous transition. This is characterized by an increase in positional ordering, a discontinuous decrease in lateral compressibility, a decrease in chain tilt angle with respect to the surface normal towards zero and probably also a head group dehydration and ordering.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBiophysical Journal
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)1457-1470
    Publication statusPublished - 1991

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