• small-angle X-ray scattering;
  • scattering density profile model;
  • genetic algorithms;
  • liquid crystalline multilamellar vesicles

The highly successful scattering density profile (SDP) model, used to jointly analyze small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering data from unilamellar vesicles, has been adapted for use with data from fully hydrated, liquid crystalline multilamellar vesicles (MLVs). Using a genetic algorithm, this new method is capable of providing high-resolution structural information, as well as determining bilayer elastic bending fluctuations from standalone X-ray data. Structural parameters such as bilayer thickness and area per lipid were determined for a series of saturated and unsaturated lipids, as well as binary mixtures with cholesterol. The results are in good agreement with previously reported SDP data, which used both neutron and X-ray data. The inclusion of deuterated and non-deuterated MLV neutron data in the analysis improved the lipid backbone information but did not improve, within experimental error, the structural data regarding bilayer thickness and area per lipid.