How do surfactants remain on the surface of pneumocytes without (1) acting as a detergent or (2) the phospholipids getting incorporated into the membranes of pneumocytes...

I'm guessing the answer has something to with the secretions of clara cells, but I'm curious for a more biophysics-y answer... for example how do the phospholipids that compose surfactant not form miceles or are the miceles simply larger that the individual component phospholipids (I'm basing this off the answer to "how do detergents get in hydrophobic membrane interior"), but even so why wouldn't the micelle simply fuse into the membrane

  • $\begingroup$ Found this so far, it's from "Topology and lipid selectivity of pulmonary surfactant protein SP-B in membranes: Answers from fluorescence"-- "The presence of the hydrophobic surfactant proteins SP-B and SP-C is strictly required to facilitate an efficient transfer of phospholipids from surfactant stores (in the form of bilayers) at the aqueous hypo-phase into the interfacial film, and to maintain the film operative along the compression–expansion breathing cycles" $\endgroup$ – Jasand Pruski Feb 3 '14 at 17:38

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