Lipids and Biomembranes

ID #1762

Would high amounts of cholesterol in membranes at high temperatures be beneficial to the cell

At very high temperatures, increasing the amount of cholesterol in the membrane would force the tails that are otherwise interacting with one another to limit their interactions to a select number of neighboring tails, and although this increases interactions between neighboring tails because they're now crammed together, the overall effect is to decrease the flexibility of the membrane because of cholesterol now wedged in between individual phospholipids and glycolipids, thereby stabilizing the cell and preventing liquidation.
However, at really high temperatures, those fatty acid tails aren't really interacting much with their neighbors, which is at the essence of why high temps are bad for biomembranes.

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