Solvent and lipid dynamics of hydrated lipid-bilayers by quasielastic neutron scattering
Journal article, 2008
The microscopic dynamics of the planar, multilamellar lipid bilayer system 1,2-dimyristoyl- sn -glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) has been investigated using quasielastic neutron scattering. The DMPC was hydrated to a level corresponding to approximately nine water molecules per lipid molecule. Selective deuteration has been used to separately extract the dynamics of the water, the acyl chains, and the polar head groups from the strong incoherent scattering of the remaining hydrogen atoms. Furthermore, the motions parallel and perpendicular to the bilayers were probed by using two different sample orientations relative to the incident neutron beam. For both sample orientations, the results showed an onset of water motions at 260 K on the experimental time scale of about 100 ps. From lack of wave-vector dependence of the onset temperature for water motions, it is evident that the observed water dynamics is of mainly rotational character at such low temperatures. At 290 K, i.e., slightly below the gel-to-liquid transition around 295 K, the nature of the water dynamics had changed to a more translational character, well described by a jump-diffusion model. On the limited experimental time and length (about 10 Å) scales, this jump-diffusion process was isotropic, despite the very anisotropic system. The acyl chains exhibited a weak onset of anharmonic motions already at 120 K, probably due to conformational changes (trans-gauche and/or syn-anti) in the plane of the lipid bilayers. Other anharmonic motions were not observed on the experimental time scale until temperature had been reached above the gel-to-liquid transition around 295 K, where the acyl chains start to show more substantial motions. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.