Maintaining membrane integrity is a challenge at extreme temperatures. Biochemical synthesis of membranespanning lipids is one adaptation that organisms such as thermophilic archaea have evolved to meet this challenge and preserve vital cellular function at high temperatures. The molecular-level details of how these tethered lipids affect membrane dynamics and function, however, remain unclear. Using synthetic monolayer-forming lipids with transmembrane tethers, here, we reveal that lipid tethering makes membrane permeation an entropically controlled process that helps to limit membrane leakage at elevated temperatures relative to bilayer-forming lipid membranes. All-atom molecular dynamics simulations support a view that permeation through membranes made of tethered lipids reduces the torsional entropy of the lipids and leads to tighter lipid packing, providing a molecular interpretation for the increased transition-state entropy of leakage.
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