Publications by Sonia Antoranz Contera

Temperature-dependent phase transitions in zeptoliter volumes of a complex biological membrane

Nanotechnology 22 (2011)

MP Nikiforov, S Hohlbauch, WP King, K Vöitchovsky, SA Contera, S Jesse, SV Kalinin, R Proksch

Phase transitions in purple membrane have been a topic of debate for the past two decades. In this work we present studies of a reversible transition of purple membrane in the 50-60 °C range in zeptoliter volumes under different heating regimes (global heating and local heating). The temperature of the reversible phase transition is 52 ± 5 °C for both local and global heating, supporting the hypothesis that this transition is mainly due to a structural rearrangement of bR molecules and trimers. To achieve high resolution measurements of temperature-dependent phase transitions, a new scanning probe microscopy-based method was developed. We believe that our new technique can be extended to other biological systems and can contribute to the understanding of inhomogeneous phase transitions in complex systems. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK & the USA.

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