Temperature-controlled atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to visualize and study the structure and kinetics of ripple phases in one-component dipalmitoylphosphaticlylcholine (DPPC) and two-component dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine-distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC-DSPC) lipid bilayers. The lipid bilayers are mica-supported double bilayers in which ripple-phase formation occurs in the top bilayer. In one-component DPPC lipid bilayers, the stable and metastable ripple phases were observed. In addition, a third ripple structure with approximately twice the wavelength of the metastable ripples was seen. From height profiles of the AFM images, estimates of the amplitudes of the different ripple phases are reported. To elucidate the processes of ripple formation and disappearance, a ripple-phase DPPC lipid bilayer was taken through the pretransition in the cooling and the heating direction and the disappearance and formation of ripples was visualized. It was found that both the disappearance and formation of ripples take place virtually one ripple at a time, thereby demonstrating the highly anisotropic nature of the ripple phase. Furthermore, when a two-component DMPC-DSPC mixture was heated from the ripple phase and into the ripple-phase/fluid-phase coexistence temperature region, the AFM images revealed that several dynamic properties of the ripple phase are important for the melting behavior of the lipid mixture. Onset of melting is observed at grain boundaries between different ripple types and different ripple orientations, and the longer-wave length metastable ripple phase melts before the shorter-wavelength stable ripple phase. Moreover, it was observed that the ripple phase favors domain growth along the ripple direction and is responsible for creating straight-edged domains with 60degrees and 120degrees angles, as reported previously.
|Publication status||Published - 2003|