The fusion and spreading of phospholipid bilayers on glass surfaces was investigated as a function of pH and ionic strength. Membrane fusion to the support was favorable at high ionic strength and low pH for vesicles containing a net negative charge; however, neutral and positively charged vesicles fused under all conditions attempted. This result suggests that van der Waals and electrostatic interactions govern the fusion process. Membrane spreading over a planar surface was favorable at low pH regardless of the net charge on the bilayer, and the process is driven by van der Waals forces. On the other hand membrane propagation is impeded at high pH or on highly curved surfaces. In this case a combination of hydration and bending interactions is primarily responsible for arresting the spreading process. These results provide a framework for understanding many of the factors that influence the effectiveness of scratches on planar supported bilayers as barriers to lateral diffusion and lead to a simple method to heal these scratches.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry