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Phase transitions and spatially ordered counterion association in ionic-lipid membranes: A statistical model

By M. N. TAMASHIRO, C. BARBETTA, R. GERMANO and V. B. HENRIQUES

Abstract

We propose a statistical model to account for the gel-fluid anomalous phase transitions in charged bilayer- or lamellae-forming ionic lipids. The model Hamiltonian comprises effective attractive interactions to describe neutral-lipid membranes as well as the effect of electrostatic repulsions of the discrete ionic charges on the lipid headgroups. The latter can be counterion dissociated (charged) or counterion associated (neutral), while the lipid acyl chains may be in gel (low-temperature or high-lateral-pressure) or fluid (high-temperature or low-lateral-pressure) states. The system is modeled as a lattice gas with two distinct particle types-each one associated, respectively, with the polar-headgroup and the acyl-chain states-which can be mapped onto an Ashkin-Teller model with the inclusion of cubic terms. The model displays a rich thermodynamic behavior in terms of the chemical potential of counterions (related to added salt concentration) and lateral pressure. In particular, we show the existence of semidissociated thermodynamic phases related to the onset of charge order in the system. This type of order stems from spatially ordered counterion association to the lipid headgroups, in which charged and neutral lipids alternate in a checkerboard-like order. Within the mean-field approximation, we predict that the acyl-chain order-disorder transition is discontinuous, with the first-order line ending at a critical point, as in the neutral case. Moreover, the charge order gives rise to continuous transitions, with the associated second-order lines joining the aforementioned first-order line at critical end points. We explore the thermodynamic behavior of some physical quantities, like the specific heat at constant lateral pressure and the degree of ionization, associated with the fraction of charged lipid headgroups

Topics: TRIANGULAR ISING ANTIFERROMAGNET, MONTE-CARLO-SIMULATION, GEL-FLUID TRANSITION, ASHKIN-TELLER MODEL, EQUATION-OF-STATE, PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE BILAYER-MEMBRANES, HYDRATED PHOSPHOLIPID-BILAYERS, MOLECULAR-DYNAMICS SIMULATION, PRESSURE-AREA MEASUREMENT, DMPG AQUEOUS DISPERSIONS, Physics, Fluids & Plasmas, Physics, Mathematical
Publisher: AMER PHYSICAL SOC
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:agregador.ibict.br.RI_UNICAMP:oai:unicamp.sibi.usp.br:SBURI/275
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