Increasing membrane tension decreases miscibility temperatures; an experimental demonstration via micropipette aspiration

Biophys J. 2012 Oct 17;103(8):L35-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.08.061. Epub 2012 Oct 16.


It has been hypothesized that cytoskeletal tension prevents large-scale phase separation within cell plasma membranes. Here, we microaspirate giant unilamellar vesicles to determine the effect of mechanical stress on the liquid/liquid miscibility temperature of a membrane composed of a ternary lipid mixture. An increase in tension of 0.1 mN/m induces a decrease in miscibility temperature on the order of a few tenths of a degree K, which validates recent theoretical predictions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry*
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • Temperature*
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / chemistry


  • Unilamellar Liposomes