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Interdigitation does not affect translational diffusion of lipids in liquid crystalline bilayers

Interdigitation does not affect translational diffusion of lipids in liquid crystalline bilayers

Biophysical Journal 69(6): 2517-2520

ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3495

PMID: 8599658

DOI: 10.1016/s0006-3495(95)80122-0

Asymmetric phosphatidylcholine molecules with one acyl chain twice as long as the other, below their phase transition temperature, from a mixed interdigitated phase in which the longer acyl chain spans the entire bilayer. Experimental evidence in the literature suggests that, above their phase transition temperature, these molecules may still exhibit partial interdigitation, with the longer acyl chain extending partially into the opposite leaflet, and are packed more tightly than equivalent symmetric phosphatidylcholines. Using the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching technique, we have investigated the translational diffusion in multilayers of a liquid crystalline phase, asymmetric phosphatidylcholine, 1-stearoyl-2-capryl-phosphatidylcholine (C18C10PC). We used as a fluorescent probe either a phospholipid analog of the same acyl chain composition, NBD-C18C10PE, or the symmetric equivalent of the same molecular weight, N-(7-nitrobenzoxa-2,3-diazol-4-yl)-dimyristoyl-phosphatidyle thanolamine (NBD-DMPE). Translational diffusion coefficients were also determined by using both probes in multilayers of dimyristoyl-phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and in the eutectic mixture DMPC/C18C10PC (40/60 mol). We found that in a given host lipid, NBD-C18C10PE and NBD-DMPE diffuse at the same rate, which suggests that their bilayer free area is almost identical. This result can be explained by considering that in the liquid crystalline state, the increase in molecular packing is compensated by an increase in acyl chain dynamics. This view, which is supported by literature data, clearly suggests that the acyl chain interdigitation occurring in the liquid crystalline phase is highly dynamic.

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