Cholesterol is a crucial component of mammalian cell membranes that takes part in many vital processes. It is generally accepted that cholesterol stabilizes the membrane and induces transitions into ordered states. In contrast to expectations, an international research team including Dr. Jean-Baptiste Fleury from the SFB 1027 (B4) demonstrated  theoretically and experimentally that cholesterol can destabilize the membrane by creating a nanodomain around a perpendicularly embedded ultrashort carbon nanotube, and we show that cholesterol triggers the translocation of an ultrashort carbon nanotube through the cell membrane. The reported nanoscale cholesterol-induced membrane restructuring near the ultrashort CNT in lipid membranes enables precise control and specific targeting of a membrane using cholesterol. As an example, it may allow for specific targeting between cholesterol-rich mammalian cells and cholesterol-poor bacterial cells. These results are now published in the renowned journal Physical Review Letters.

Link to the press release of the Saarland University (in German)

Link to the News release of the AAAS (in English)

Link to the publication in Phys. Rev. Lett.

JB Fleury  Dr. Jean-Baptiste Fleury, PI of project B4 of the SFB 1027

Date of new: 
Monday, 27. January 2020













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