The effect of terminally anchored chains on the structure of lipid bilayers adsorbed at the solid/water interface was characterized by neutron reflectivity. In the studied system, the inner leaflet, closer to the substrate, consisted of head-deuterated 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine (DSPC) and the outer leaflet comprised a mixture of DSPC and polyethylene glycol (PEG) functionalized 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine. The DSPC headgroups were deuterated to enhance sensitivity and demarcate the bilayer/water interface. The effect on the inner and outer headgroup layers was characterized by w 1/2 , the width at half-height of the scattering length density profile. The inner headgroup layer was essentially unperturbed while w 1/2 of the outer layer increased significantly. This suggests that the anchored PEG chains give rise to headgroup protrusions rather than to blister-like membrane deformations.
European Physical Journal E: Soft Matter and Biological Physics, 2013, Vol 36, Issue 1, p. 1-7