Surface forces apparatus
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The interactions between unsaturated phospholipid bilayers deposited on mica were measured in aqueous solution using a surface forces apparatus. The bilayers were made of L-α-dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC), L-α-dioleoylphosphatidyl ethanolamine (DOPE), and mixtures of the two, and were formed on mica by Langmuir-Blodgett deposition after the lipids were spread on an aqueous substrate from a chloroform solution. The forces are interpreted as electrostatic double-layer and van der Waals forces with long range, and a strong repulsion (hydration or steric force) at distances of several nm. Together they produce a region of weak attraction (a secondary minimum) at 5 nm (DOPE) and 6 nm (DOPC). Fusion of two bilayers into one was observed when the local force per unit area was 2–3 MPa. Other researchers report that phosphatidylethanolamine in vesicles enhances fusion. In this study using deposited bilayers, the presence of DOPE in a DOPC bilayer did not promote fusion, nor did DOPE bilayers fuse more easily than DOPC. The value of the force per unit area at which the two bilayers fuse into one was however decreased by several orders of magnitude when the bilayers were formed from lipids kept in chloroform solution for several days or more. Chromatography showed traces of lipid degradation products in such chloroform solutions.
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