Two key commonly used cannabinergic agonists, CP55940 and WIN55212-2, are investigated for their effects on the lipid membrane bilayer using 2H solid state NMR, and the results are compared with our earlier work with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). To study the effects of these ligands we used hydrated bilayers of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) deuterated at the 2′ and 16′ positions of both acyl chains with deuterium atoms serving as probes for the dynamic and phase changes at the membrane interface and at the bilayer center respectively. All three cannabinergic ligands lower the phospholipid membrane phase transition temperature, increase the lipid sn-2 chain order parameter at the membrane interface and decrease the order at the center of the bilayer. Our studies show that the cannabinoid ligands induce lateral phase separation in the lipid membrane at physiological temperatures. During the lipid membrane phase transition, the cooperative dynamic process whereby the C-2H segments at the interface and center of the bilayer spontaneously reach the fast exchange regime (2H NMR timescale) is distinctively modulated by the two cannabinoids. Specifically, CP55940 is slightly more efficient at inducing liquid crystalline-type 2H NMR spectral features at the membrane interface compared to WIN55212-2. In contrast, WIN55212-2 has a far superior ability to induce liquid crystalline-type spectral features at the center of the bilayer, and it increases the order parameter of the sn-1 chain in addition to the sn-2 chain of the lipids. These observations suggest the cannabinoid ligands may influence lipid membrane domain formations and there may be contributions to their cannabinergic activities through lipid membrane microdomain related mechanisms. Our work demonstrates that experimental design strategies utilizing specifically deuterium labeled lipids yield more detailed insights concerning the properties of lipid bilayers. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Tian, X., Pavlopoulos, S., Yang, D. P., & Makriyannis, A. (2011). The interaction of cannabinoid receptor agonists, CP55940 and WIN55212-2 with membranes using solid state 2H NMR. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1808(9), 2095–2101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2010.11.026