Protein adsorption on lipid monolayers at their coexistence region

Roland R. Netz*, David Andelman, H. Orland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate theoretically the behavior of proteins as well as other large macromolecules which are incorporated into amphiphilic monolayers at the air-water interface. We assume the monolayer to be in the coexistence region of the "mai" transition, where domains of the liquid condensed phase coexist with the liquid expanded background. Using a simple meanfield free energy accounting for the interactions between proteins and amphiphilic molecules, we obtain the spatial protein distribution with the following characteristics. When the proteins preferentially interact with either the liquid condensed or liquid expanded domains, they will be dissolved in the respective phase. When the proteins are energetically rather indifferent to the density of the amphiphiles, they will be localized at the line boundary between the (two-dimensional) liquid expanded and condensed phases. In between these two limiting cases, a delocalization transition of the proteins takes place. This transition is accessible by changing the temperature or the amount of incorporated protein. These findings are in agreement with recent fluorescence microscopy experiments. Our results also apply to lipid multicomponent membranes showing coexistence of distinct fluid phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1047
Number of pages25
JournalJournal de Physique II
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1996


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