Long-range interlayer alignment of intralayer domains in stacked lipid bilayers

Lobat Tayebi, Yicong Ma, Daryoosh Vashaee, Gang Chen, Sunil K. Sinha, Atul N. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Liquid-crystalline phases of stacked lipid bilayers represent a pervasive motif in biomolecular assemblies. Here we report that, in addition to the usual smectic order, multicomponent multilayer membranes can exhibit columnar order arising from the coupling of two-dimensional intralayer phase separation and interlayer smectic ordering. This coupling propagates across hundreds of membrane lamellae, producing long-range alignment of phase-separated domains. Quantitative analysis of real-time dynamical experiments reveals that there is an interplay between intralayer domain growth and interlayer coupling, suggesting the existence of cooperative multilayer epitaxy. We postulate that such long-range epitaxy is solvent-assisted, and that it originates from the surface tension associated with differences in the network of hydrogen-bonded water molecules at the hydrated interfaces between the domains and the surrounding phase. Our findings might inspire the development of self-assembly-based strategies for the long-range alignment of functional lipid domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1080
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-range interlayer alignment of intralayer domains in stacked lipid bilayers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this