Relationship between Viscosity and Acyl Tail Dynamics in Lipid Bilayers

Michihiro Nagao, Elizabeth G. Kelley, Antonio Faraone, Makina Saito, Yoshitaka Yoda, Masayuki Kurokuzu, Shinichi Takata, Makoto Seto, Paul D. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane viscosity is a fundamental property that controls molecular transport and structural rearrangements in lipid membranes. Given its importance in many cell processes, various experimental and computational methods have been developed to measure the membrane viscosity, yet the estimated values depend highly on the method and vary by orders of magnitude. Here we investigate the molecular origins of membrane viscosity by measuring the nanoscale dynamics of the lipid acyl tails using x-ray and neutron spectroscopy techniques. The results show that the membrane viscosity can be estimated from the structural relaxation times of the lipid tails.

Original languageEnglish
Article number078102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 13


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