Influence of cholesterol on the collective dynamics of the phospholipid acyl chains in model membranes
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We have studied the packing and collective dynamics of the phospholipid acyl chains in a model membrane composed of 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and cholesterol in varied phase state. After a structural characterization of this two-component model bilayer using X-ray reflectivity, we have carried out coherent inelastic neutron scattering to investigate the chain dynamics. Both DMPC/cholesterol membranes exhibited much sharper and more pronounced low-energy inelastic excitations than a pure DMPC membrane. In the high-energy regime above 10 meV, the insertion of cholesterol into the membrane was found to shift the position of the inelastic excitation towards values otherwise found in the pure lipids gel phase. Thus, the dissipative collective short-range dynamics of the acyl chains is strongly influenced by the presence of cholesterol.
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