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B in most glycerophospholipids the20 width of the

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Unformatted text preview: ng relatively large head group attached to their single hydrophobic tail and therefore cannot align side-by-side to form a bilayer. (b) In most glycerophospholipids, the20 width of the head group is comparable to the width of the two acyl chains. The lipids can therefore form a bilayer with no voids between lipid molecules. (c) Triacylglycerols, with a small and weakly polar head group, do not form a bilayer. bend and interdigitate. In addition, the head groups of membrane lipids are not of uniform size, and their distance from the membrane center depends on how they nestle in with neighboring head groups. Finally, the lipid bilayer is impossible to describe in precise terms because it is not a static structure. Rather, it is a dynamic assembly: The head groups bob up and down, and the hydrocarbon tails of the lipids are in constant rapid motion. At its very center, the bilayer is as fluid as a sample of pure hydrocarbon (Fig. 8-5). This structure provides an answer to the question posed at the start of the chapter: The bilayer is flexible enou...
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