back to publication list

T.Heimburg, N.J.P Ryba, U.Wuerz and D.Marsh. 1990. Phase transition from gel to a fluid phase of cubic symmetry in dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholin/myristic acid (1:2,mol/mol) bilayers. B.B.A.1025: 77 abstract05

Abstract: Aqueous dispersions (pH 4.0) of a 2:1 (mol/mol) mixture of myristic acid with dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine undergo a sharp transition at 45-47 degrees C from a lamellar gel phase to a fluid phase which is optically isotropic. This fluid phase gives rise to 31P-NMR spectra, and 2H-NMR spectra of the chain-deuterated components, which are also isotropic. X-ray diffraction studies of the fluid phase at 49 degrees C, reveal reflections with spacings in the ratio square root of 2: (square root of 3): square root of 4: square root of 6: square root of 8, accompanied by a strong diffuse scatter. These reflections index on a cubic lattice of primitive space group Pn3 or Pn3m, or possibly the body-centered group Im3m, with a lattice constant of 21.2 nm. The dimensions of the phase are consistent with a structure composed of two systems of tetrahedrally (octahedrally) oriented inverted lipid cylinders, found for other cubic lipid phases with Pn3m (Im3m) symmetry. At higher temperatures the cubic phase gradually converts, with increasing temperature, to a coexisting inverted hexagonal phase.