Lipids and Biomembranes

ID #1643

Why wouldn't high levels of cholesterol molecules at high temperatures increase membrane fluidity?


At high temperatures, the lipid molecules have a lot of kinetic energy that is exhibited through Brownian motion, or in other words, they flail around a lot. This motion contributes to the fluidity of a membrane. Wedging lots of cholesterol molecules into the lipid bilayer imposes order and contributes to the stability of the bilayer. Thus, more cholesterol molecules at high temperatures decrease membrane fluidity.

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