Author(s): Veatch SL, Keller SL
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Abstract Saturated sphingomyelin (SM) lipids are implicated in lipid rafts in cell plasma membranes. Here we use fluorescence microscopy to observe coexisting liquid domains in vesicles containing SM, an unsaturated phosphatidylcholine lipid (either DOPC or POPC), and cholesterol. We note similar phase behavior in a model membrane mixture without SM (DOPC/DPPC/Chol), but find no micron-scale liquid domains in membranes of POPC/PSM/Chol. We delineate the onset of solid phases below the miscibility transition temperature, and detail indirect evidence for a three-phase coexistence of one solid and two liquid phases.
This article was published in Phys Rev Lett
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology