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How/why does the lengthening of fatty acid tails increase the stability of a lipid membrane? Also, if steroids are amphipathic, then how are they able to stay inside of the hydrophobic region?


Longer fatty acid tails provide more hydrocarbon atoms for adjacent tails to interact with hydrophobically. More interaction sites from more hydrocarbons = more membrane stability.

Look at the chemical structure of the steroid cholesterol in one of the slides from lecture 8. As you can see, the region marked hydrophilic is just a hydroxyl (OH) group. The majority of the molecule is hydrophobic, so the four rings

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