Electrostatic phenomena in soft matter systems are often intriguing or even counterintuitive. DNA condensation by polyvalent counterions is now a classic example by which highly-negatively charged DNA strands attract each other in the presence of poly-cations. Also Mg2+ can stabilize inverted hexagonal phases of lipid aggregates that would otherwise form lamellar phases. Here we discuss another intriguing electrostatic phenomenon: electrostatic modification of lipid membranes by poly-cations. In particular we examine how the poly-anionic nature of LPS (lipopolysaccharide) molecules is implicated in the permeability properties of LPS membranes.


Talk Number PIRSA:13120032
Speaker Profile Norman Lam