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Biophysical studies of lipid nanodomains using different physical characterization techniques

Publication Type
Journal Name
Biophysical Journal
Publication Date
Page Numbers
931 to 949

For the past 50 years, evidence for the existence of functional lipid domains has been steadily accumulating. Although the notion of functional lipid domains, also known as “lipid rafts,” is now widely accepted, this was not always the case. This ambiguity surrounding lipid domains could be partly attributed to the fact that they are highly dynamic, nanoscopic structures. Since most commonly used techniques are sensitive to microscale structural features, it is therefore, not surprising that it took some time to reach a consensus regarding their existence. In this review article, we will discuss studies that have used techniques that are inherently sensitive to nanoscopic structural features (i.e., neutron scatting, nuclear magnetic resonance, and Förster resonance energy transfer). We will also mention techniques that may be of use in the future (i.e., cryoelectron microscopy, droplet interface bilayers, inelastic x-ray scattering, and neutron reflectometry), which can further our understanding of the different and unique physicochemical properties of nanoscopic lipid domains.