Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 138439, 11 pages
Review Article

On Physical Properties of Tetraether Lipid Membranes: Effects of Cyclopentane Rings

Department of Biochemistry, Temple University School of Medicine, 3420 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA

Received 6 July 2012; Accepted 8 August 2012

Academic Editor: Yosuke Koga

Copyright © 2012 Parkson Lee-Gau Chong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper reviews the recent findings related to the physical properties of tetraether lipid membranes, with special attention to the effects of the number, position, and configuration of cyclopentane rings on membrane properties. We discuss the findings obtained from liposomes and monolayers, composed of naturally occurring archaeal tetraether lipids and synthetic tetraethers as well as the results from computer simulations. It appears that the number, position, and stereochemistry of cyclopentane rings in the dibiphytanyl chains of tetraether lipids have significant influence on packing tightness, lipid conformation, membrane thickness and organization, and headgroup hydration/orientation.