A theoretical model for the association probabilities of saturated phospholipids from two-component bilayer lipid membranes

Liviu Movileanu, Dumitru Popescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The non-random mixing of biomembrane components, especially saturated phospholipids, exhibits important consequences in molecular biology. Particularly, the distribution of lipids within natural and model membranes is strongly determined by the selective association processes. These processes of phospholipids take place due to the cooperative modes in multiparticle systems as well as the specific lipid-lipid interactions both in the hydrophobic core and in the region of the polar headgroups. We demonstrated that the investigation of the selective association processes of saturated phospholipids might contribute to the insight of the lipid domains appearance inside the bilayer membranes. The association probabilities of like-pairs and cross-pairs from a binary mixture of saturated phospholipids were tested for both parallel and anti-parallel alignments of the polar headgroups. The present model confirms the experimental evidence for saturated phospholipids to have a high tendency for association in parallel configuration of the electric dipole moments of the polar headgroups whether the cross-sectional area of the polar headgroup is in an usual range of 25-55 A2. There are three major lipid domains in a binary mixture of saturated phospholipids: (i) lipid domains in non-mixed phase of the first mixture component, in parallel alignment of the polar headgroups; (ii) lipid domains in non-mixed phase of the second mixture component, in anti-parallel alignment of the polar headgroups; (iii) lipid domains in mixed phase. We think that the selective association processes of phospholipids are neither exclusively, nor only involved in promoting the lipid domains appearance through bilayer phospholipid membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-368
Number of pages22
JournalActa Biotheoretica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Bilayer lipid membrane
  • Binary mixtures
  • Dipole-dipole interaction
  • Phospholipid domains
  • Saturated phospholipids
  • Selective association processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Philosophy
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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