We calculate partition coefficients of various chain anchors in liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered phases utilizing a theoretical model of a bilayer membrane containing cholesterol, dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine, and dioleoylphosphatidylcholine. The partition coefficients are calculated as a function of chain length, degree of saturation, and temperature. Partitioning depends on the difference between the lipid environments of the coexisting phases in which the anchors are embedded. Consequently, the partition coefficient depends on the nature of the anchor, and on the relative compositions of the coexisting phases. We find that saturated anchors prefer the denser liquid-ordered phase, and that the fraction of anchors in the liquid-ordered phase increases with increasing degree of saturation of the anchors. The partition coefficient also depends upon the location of the double bonds. Anchors with double bonds closer to the middle of the chain have a greater effect on partitioning than those near the end. Doubling the number of saturated chains increases the partitioning into the liquid-ordered phase for tails that are nearly as long or longer than those comprising the bilayer. Partitioning of such chains increases with decreasing temperature, indicating that energy considerations dominate entropic ones. In contrast, partitioning of shorter chains increases with increasing temperature, indicating that entropic considerations dominate.
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