Medical College of Wisconsin
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Microimmiscibility and three-dimensional dynamic structures of phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol membranes: translational diffusion of a copper complex in the membrane. Biochemistry 1990 Aug 28;29(34):7936-45



Pubmed ID





Saturated and unsaturated phosphatidylcholine (PC)-cholesterol membranes have been studied, with a special attention paid to fluid-phase immiscibility in cis-unsaturated phosphatidylcholine (PC)-cholesterol membranes as previously proposed and to the three-dimensional structure of the membrane. The investigation was carried out with dual probes: a membrane-soluble, square-planar copper complex, (3-ethoxy-2-oxobutyraldehyde bis(N4,N4-dimethylthiosemicarbazonato]copper(II) (CuKTSM2), and one of several nitroxide radical lipid-type spin-labels. Bimolecular collision rates between metal ion and spin-label were determined by measuring the nitroxide spin-lattice relaxation times (T1's) in the presence and absence of CuKTSM2 by use of saturation-recovery ESR techniques, and from these measured rates, translational diffusion coefficients of CuKTSM2 were estimated. Profiles of the collision rate across the membrane bilayer were obtained with Tempocholine phosphatidic acid ester, 5-doxylstearic acid, 16-doxylstearic acid, and cholesterol-type spin-labels as a function of cholesterol mole fraction, length and unsaturation of acyl chains, and temperature. In the liquid-crystalline phase of saturated PC membranes, incorporation of cholesterol decreases the collision rate at all depths in the membrane, and the effect of cholesterol is smallest in the middle of the bilayer. In trans-unsaturated PC membranes, a cholesterol-induced decrease of the collision rate was also observed, except in the head-group regions. In cis-unsaturated PC membranes, virtually no effect of cholesterol was observed on the collision rate, either with phospholipid-type spin-labels or with cholesterol-type spin-labels. This result is in clear contrast with our previous observation, in which the effect of cholesterol in cis-unsaturated PC membranes is small on the alkyl-chain motion of phospholipid-type spin-labels but large on the wobbling rotational diffusion of cholesterol-type spin-labels [Pasenkiewicz-Gierula, M., Subczynski, W. K., & Kusumi, A. (1990) Biochemistry 29, 4059-4069]. A model is proposed to explain these results in which the fluid-phase immiscibility is prevalent in cis-unsaturated PC-cholesterol membranes, but where cholesterol-rich (cholesterol oligomeric) domains are small (several lipids) and/or of short lifetime (10(-9) s to less than 10(-7) s). It is suggested that this microimmiscibility arises from the structural nonconformability between the rigid cholesterol ring structure and the rigid bend at the cis double bonds in PC alkyl chains.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Author List

Subczynski WK, Antholine WE, Hyde JS, Kusumi A


Witold K. Subczynski PhD Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Lipid Bilayers
Molecular Conformation
Organometallic Compounds
Spin Labels
Structure-Activity Relationship