Cells and organelles are contained in lipid bilayers. I'm particularly interested in eukaryotic organelle bilayers and the biophysicochemical differences between them.

Many papers assume a difference in membrane characteristics and some like Anderson et al., 2007 have categorised the relationship between these characteristics and protein function in depth.

Do any reviews or comprehensive studies exist in the field that compare the thickness of the membrane, the rigidity of the surface, any differences in lipid entropy, or the overall charge inside and outside across different types of organelle membranes?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you interested in all types of membrane bound organelles? I am sure there are studies on membrane composition individually for different organelles. I guess you have to do the comparison yourself. I remember that there was an article that compared chloroplasts of different origin and one of them still retains the peptidoglycan cell wall; I'll find that and let you know $\endgroup$
    Feb 20, 2015 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ I am interested in the biophysicochemical differences between membranes themselves of membrane bound organelles. Generally I am more interested in the net biophysical differences, but any references are more than welcome. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Feb 20, 2015 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Great question. Turns out, there is some information about it.

For example, consider following resource: Membrane Protein Lipid Composition Atlas. Published by University of Michigan, it provides information on, primarily, protein content of different membranes from different species, but also has a list of lipid content.

Just as an example, consider following difference between membranes of mitochondria in yeast:

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Now, concerning your interest in biophysics. To my taste, starting with just bulk lipid composition is a good first approximation. Although you also want to know about lipid raft formation and density/distribution of proteins. Next step, probably, will be symmetry considerations, that is, difference between sides of same membrane. You can imagine membranes with same bulk composition, but because of different lipid position (in/out) properties will be different.

It seems you can assess raft composition based on membrane lipid composition. Membrane capacity also is a property of membrane content.

Following quick walk through this Google Scholar search provides even more links between biophysical properties and lipid bilayer composition. However, it might be challenging to find exactly what you are looking for.


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