Probing Intermolecular Interactions in Phospholipid Bilayers by Far-Infrared Spectroscopy.

Research paper by Giovanna G D'Angelo, Valeria V Conti Nibali, Cristina C Crupi, Simona S Rifici, Ulderico U Wanderlingh, Alessandro A Paciaroni, Francesco F Sacchetti, Caterina C Branca

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B


Fast thermal fluctuations and low frequency phonon modes are thought to play a part in the dynamic mechanisms of many important biological functions in cell membranes. Here we report a detailed far-infrared study of the molecular subpicosecond motions of phospholipid bilayers at various hydrations. We show that these systems sustain several low frequency collective modes and deduce that they arise from vibrations of different lipids interacting through intermolecular van der Waals forces. Furthermore we observe that the low frequency vibrations of lipid membrane have strong similarities with the subpicosecond motions of liquid water and suggest that resonance mechanisms are an important element to the dynamics coupling between membranes and their hydration water.