Analytical derivation of thermodynamic properties of bilayer membrane with interdigitation

Mukhin, Sergei I.
Kheyfets, Boris B.
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We consider a model of bilayer lipid membrane with interdigitation, in which the lipid tails of the opposite monolayers interpenetrate. The interdigitation is modeled by linking tails of the hydrophobic chains in the opposite monolayers within bilayer as a first approximation. A number of thermodynamical characteristics are calculated analytically and compared with the ones of a regular membrane without interdigitation. Striking difference between lateral pressure profiles at the layers interface for linked and regular bilayer models is found. In the linked case, the lateral pressure mid-plane peak disappears, while the free energy per chain increases. Within our model we found that in case of elongation of the chains inside a nucleus of e.g. liquid-condensed phase, homogeneous interdigitation would be more costly for the membrane's free energy than energy of the hydrophobic mismatch between the elongated chains and the liquid-expanded surrounding. Nonetheless, an inhomogeneous interdigitation along the nucleous boundary may occur inside a ``belt'' of a width that varies approximately with the hydrophobic mismatch amplitude.
Comment: 20 pages, 12 figures, 1 table, Biophysical Society Annual Meeting 2009, Boston, USA
Quantitative Biology - Quantitative Methods, Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter