acta physica slovaca

Acta Physica Slovaca 56, No.6, 687-805 (2006) (119 pages)

Structure and physical properties of biomembranes and model membranes

Tibor Hianik
   Department of NuclearPhysics and Biophysics, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Full text: ::pdf :: (submitted 24.10.2006, accepted 9.11.2006)

Abstract: Biomembranes belong to the most important structures of the cell and the cell organels. They play not only structural role of the barrier separating the external and internal part of the membrane but contain also various functional molecules, like receptors, ionic channels, carriers and enzymes. The cell membrane also preserves non-equillibrium state in a cell which is crucial for maintaining its excitability and other signaling functions. The growing interest to the biomembranes is also due to their unique physical properties. From physical point of view the biomembranes, that are composed of lipid bilayer into which are incorporated integral proteins and on their surface are anchored peripheral proteins and polysaccharides, represent liquid scrystal of smectic type. The biomembranes are characterized by anisotropy of structural and physical properties. The complex structure of biomembranes makes the study of their physical properties rather difficult. Therefore several model systems that mimic the structure of biomembranes were developed. Among them the lipid monolayers at an air-water interphase, bilayer lipid membranes (BLM), supported bilayer lipid membranes (sBLM) and liposomes are most known. This work is focused on the introduction into the physical word of the biomembranes and their models. After introduction to the membrane structure and the history of its establishment, the physical properties of the biomembranes and their models areare stepwise presented. The most focus is on the properties of lipid monolayers, BLM, sBLM and liposomes that were most detailed studied. This lecture has tutorial character that may be usefull for undergraduate and graduate students in the area of biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology and bioengineering, however it contains also original work of the author and his co-worker and PhD students, that may be useful also for specialists working in the field of biomembranes and model membranes.

PACS: 87.15.Kg, 87.15.La, 87.16.Dg, 87.16.Uv
Keywords: Biomembrane structure, Mechanical properties, Electrostriction, Ion transport, Protein-lipid interactions, Receptors, Biosensors

About author: Prof. Dr. Tibor Hianik, D.Sc., is head of the Laboratory of Biophysics at Department of Nuclear Physics and Biophysics, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Sciences, Comenius University, member of the Council and Secretary General of The Bioelectrochemical Society. T. Hianik was graduated in Biophysics at Faculty of Physics, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1977, where defended also PhD (1979) and D.Sc. (1987) dissertations in membrane biophysics. Since 1989 is professor of Biophysics at Comenius University. He is expert in membrane biophysics and biosensor research. Substantial area of his research is focused on membrane mechanics, on the mechanism of protein-lipid interactions, DNA-lipid, DNA-protein interactions, on development of biosensors based on solid supported lipid _lms. T. Hianik is principal investigator of the scienti_c projects supported by VEGA and APVV grant agencies. In EU funded projects Copernicus and Inco-Copernicus served as scientificc co-ordinator and currently is co-director of NATO SfP project focused on development of DNA based biosensors for detection of environmental pollutants. He is also member of Network of Excellence NeuroPrion funded by EU in 6FP. T. Hianik published about 150 papers in refereed scientific journals and 2 monographs and serves as associate editor of International Journal Bioelectrochemistry (Elsevier), editor of Central European Journal of Chemistry (Springer) and editor of General Physiology and Biophysics (Slovak Academy of Sciences). He is member of Biophysical Society (USA), member of the Council of Slovak Biophysical Society and in 2005 was elected for C6 commission on Biological Physics of IUPAP.

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