Login

Join for Free!
119254 members


Lipid Bilayers vs Micelles

Discussion of all aspects of biological molecules, biochemical processes and laboratory procedures in the field.

Moderator: BioTeam

Lipid Bilayers vs Micelles

Postby seabreeze » Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:47 pm

Hey guys,

First time posting on this board, and just had a question regarding membrane formation. Why is it that things like phosphlipids and glycosphingolipids (like sphingomyelin and glycosphingolipids) form lipid bilayers when theyre exposed to water, whereas some things form micelles instead? i know that the structure of these is rectangular, but what exactly causes them to form the linear side-by-side bilayers, instead of just curling up circularly like a micelle? They both seem to interact similarly with water too (expose hydrophilic polar heads but hide their hydrophobic tailes on the inside). My notes don't do a very good job of explaining this, so any sort of insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
seabreeze
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:42 pm

Postby BioLad » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:55 pm

A bit of a blurb here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micelle that talks about their formation.
Sadly I'm not that interested in micelles or I could give you a better explanation.
User avatar
BioLad
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:58 pm

Re: Lipid Bilayers vs Micelles

Postby n0vad3m0n » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:51 pm

I don't know what a micelle is (we haven't covered that in class) but we did go over properties of phospholipids.

A phospholipid with two hydrophobic tails will prevent the lipid in forming a circular fashion. These water-fearing tails will effectively orient the adjacent phospholipids into a bilayer position.
User avatar
n0vad3m0n
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:21 pm


Re: Lipid Bilayers vs Micelles

Postby squillss » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:34 am

Yeah, this is an idea that seems to get glossed over some of the time. It seems the natural tendency of molecules with hydrophilic heads / hydrophobic tails is to form micelles, because this is the simplest structure that maximizes hydrophobic/philic interaction. In phospholipids, however, the hydrophobic tails have a greater cross-sectional area than the heads, and so they cannot form stable micelles - in other words, the volume of the interior of a hypothetical phospholipid micelle would not allow the hydrophilic heads to make a continuous, unbroken surface. The simplest way for phospholipids to "hide" their hydrophobic tails is the lipid bilayer configuration. Hopefully that helps anyone who stumbles across this board in the future.
squillss
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:46 am


Return to Molecular Biology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests