Electro-mechanical characterization of cholesterol – phospholipids interactions in droplet interface bilayers
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Droplet interface bilayers (DIB) allow for the creation of model cellular membranes at the interface of aqueous droplets dispersed in oil with dissolved phospholipids. Work in literature has shown that cholesterol greatly influences the mechanical properties of lipid membranes. However, little work has been done on studying cholesterol interaction with saturated phospholipids, particularly in DIB systems. In this work, we investigate the electro-mechanical effects of cholesterol inclusion in lipid bilayers with DPhPC phospholipids, using DIBs as a platform. First, the monolayer tension of the oil-water interface with lipids is measured using pendant drop tensiometry. It is then combined with the observed contact angle of the adhered droplets to estimate the energy-per-area of the film. This provides an estimation of the favorability of membrane formation through the energy of adhesion. Second, values for the critical dielectric stress are estimated and the influence of cholesterol on DIB durability is tracked.