Phase behavior of lipid bilayers under tension

Mark J. Uline*, M. Schick, Igal Szleifer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Given the proposed importance of membrane tension in regulating cellular functions, we explore the effects of a finite surface tension on phase equilibrium using a molecular theory that captures the quantitative structure of the phase diagram of the tensionless DPPC/DOPC/Cholesterol lipid bilayer. We find that an increase in the surface tension decreases the temperature of the transition from liquid to gel in a pure DPPC system by ∼1.0 K/(mN/m), and decreases the liquid-disordered to liquid-ordered transition at constant chemical potentials by approximately the same amount. Our results quantitatively isolate the role of tension in comparison to other thermodynamic factors, such as pressure, in determining the phase behavior of lipid bilayers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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