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Nanoscale structural response of biomimetic cell membranes to controlled dehydration


[ 1 ] Instytut Fizyki, Wydział Inżynierii Materiałowej i Fizyki Technicznej, Politechnika Poznańska | [ P ] employee | [ SzD ] doctoral school student

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[2.8] Materials engineering

Year of publication


Published in


Journal year: 2024 | Journal volume: Vol. 16 | Journal number: Iss. 1

Article type

scientific article

Publication language



EN Although cell membranes exist in excess of water under physiological conditions, there are a number of biochemical processes, such as adsorption of biomacromolecules or membrane fusion events, that require partial or even complete transient dehydration of lipid membranes. Even though the dehydration process is crucial for understanding all fusion events, still little is known about the structural adaptation of lipid membranes when their interfacial hydration layer is perturbed. Here, we present the study of the nanoscale structural reorganization of phase-separated, supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) under a wide range of hydration conditions. Model lipid membranes were characterised using a combination of fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy and, crucially, without applying any chemical or physical modifications that have previously been considered essential for maintaining the membrane integrity upon dehydration. We revealed that decreasing the hydration state of the membrane leads to an enhanced mixing of lipids characteristic of the liquid-disordered (Ld) phase with those forming the liquid-ordered (Lo) phase. This is associated with a 2-fold decrease in the hydrophobic mismatch between the Ld and Lo lipid phases and a 3-fold decrease in the line tension for the fully desiccated membrane. Importantly, the observed changes in the hydrophobic mismatch, line tension, and lipid miscibility are fully reversible upon subsequent rehydration of the membrane. These findings provide a deeper insight into the fundamental processes, such as cell–cell fusion, that require partial dehydration at the interface of two membranes.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

72 - 84




License type

CC BY (attribution alone)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

Ministry points / journal


Impact Factor

6,7 [List 2022]

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