Coupling between pore formation and phase separation in charged lipid membranes

Hiroki Himeno, Hiroaki Ito, Yuji Higuchi, Tsutomu Hamada, Naofumi Shimokawa, Masahiro Takagi

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effect of charge on the membrane morphology of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) composed of various mixtures containing charged lipids. We observed the membrane morphologies by fluorescent and confocal laser microscopy in lipid mixtures consisting of a neutral unsaturated lipid [dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC)], a neutral saturated lipid [dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC)], a charged unsaturated lipid [dioleoylphosphatidylglycerol (DOPG(-))], a charged saturated lipid [dipalmitoylphosphatidylglycerol (DPPG(-))], and cholesterol (Chol). In binary mixtures of neutral DOPC-DPPC and charged DOPC-DPPG(-), spherical vesicles were formed. On the other hand, pore formation was often observed with GUVs consisting of DOPG(-) and DPPC. In a DPPC-DPPG(-)-Chol ternary mixture, pore-formed vesicles were also frequently observed. The percentage of pore-formed vesicles increased with the DPPG(-) concentration. Moreover, when the head group charges of charged lipids were screened by the addition of salt, pore-formed vesicles were suppressed in both the binary and ternary charged lipid mixtures. We discuss the mechanisms of pore formation in charged lipid mixtures and the relationship between phase separation and the membrane morphology. Finally, we reproduce the results seen in experimental systems by using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062713
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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