Shape Transformations of Lipid Bilayers Following Rapid Cholesterol Uptake

Mohammad Rahimi, David Regan, Marino Arroyo, Anand Bala Subramaniam, Howard A. Stone, Margarita Staykova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


High cholesterol levels in the blood increase the risk of atherosclerosis. A common explanation is that the cholesterol increase in the plasma membrane perturbs the shape and functions of cells by disrupting the cell signaling pathways and the formation of membrane rafts. In this work, we show that after enhanced transient uptake of cholesterol, mono-component lipid bilayers change their shape similarly to cell membranes in vivo. The bilayers either expel lipid protrusions or spread laterally as a result of the ensuing changes in their lipid density, the mechanical constraints imposed on them, and the properties of cyclodextrin used as a cholesterol donor. In light of the increasingly recognized link between membrane tension and cell behavior, we propose that the physical adaptation of the plasma membrane to cholesterol uptake may play a substantial role in the biological response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2651-2657
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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