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The conservation of fluidity is a theme common to all cell membranes. In this study, an analysis of lipid packing was conducted via C-laurdan spectroscopy of cell surface membranes prepared from representative species of Bacteria and Eukarya. We found that despite their radical differences in composition (namely the presence and absence of membrane-rigidifying sterol) the membrane order of all taxa converges on a remarkably similar level. To understand how this similarity is constructed, we reconstituted membranes with either bacterial or eukaryotic components. We found that transmembrane segments of proteins have an important role in buffering lipid-mediated packing. This buffering ensures that sterol-free and sterol-containing membranes exhibit similar barrier properties.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





40631 - 40637


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Bacteria, Bacterial Proteins, Cell Membrane, Eukaryota, Humans, Lipid Bilayers, Membrane Proteins, Molecular Sequence Data, Peptide Fragments, Rats