Saturated phospholipids with high melting temperatures form complexes with cholesterol in monolayers

Sarah L. Keller, Arun Radhakrishnan, Harden M. McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations


Many mixtures of phospholipids and cholesterol form immiscible liquid phases in a monolayer at an airwater interface. As discovered recently, some binary mixtures of phospholipid and cholesterol exhibit two upper miscibility critical points. This phenomenon can result from the reversible formation of a chemically distinct liquid product or "condensed complex" between the phospholipid and cholesterol. The present work describes an empirical connection between high melting temperatures of saturated phospholipid bilayers and the appearance of two upper miscibility critical points in cholesterol - phospholipid monolayers. A rough correlation is also found between melting temperature and the composition of the complex. Bilayer melting temperature is a convenient measure of the tendency of the phospholipid acyl chains to order, and this same tendency is evidently important for condensed complex formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7522-7527
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - Aug 10 2000

Cite this