Phase diagrams of lipid mixtures relevant to the study of membrane rafts

Félix M. Goñi, Alicia Alonso, Luis A. Bagatolli, Rhoderick E. Brown, Derek Marsh, Manuel Prieto, Jenifer L. Thewalt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


The present paper reviews the phase properties of phosphatidylcholine-sphingomyelin-cholesterol mixtures, that are often used as models for membrane "raft" microdomains. The available data based on X-ray, microscopic and spectroscopic observations, surface pressure and calorimetric measurements, and detergent solubilization assays, are critically evaluated and rationalized in terms of triangular phase diagrams. The remaining uncertainties are discussed specifically and separately from the data on which a consensus appears to exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-684
Number of pages20
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F.M.G. and A.A. thank the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (grant No. BFU 2007-62062 and No. BFU 2008-01637) and the Basque Government (grant No. IT-461-07) for their support. Research in the laboratory of L.A.B. is funded by a grant from FNU and FSS, Denmark and by the Danish National Research Foundation (which supports the MEMPHYS-Center for Biomembrane Physics). R.E.B. gratefully acknowledges the continuing financial support provided by NIH/NIGMS GM45928 and by the Hormel Foundation. M.P. acknowledges support from F.C.T. (Portugal). J.T. thanks the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


  • Cholesterol
  • Lipid phase diagrams
  • Membrane rafts
  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • Sphingomyelin


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