ESR studies of spin-labeled membranes aligned by isopotential spin-dry ultracentrifugation: lipid-protein interactions

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Electron spin resonance (ESR) studies have been performed on spin-labeled model membranes aligned using the isopotential spin-dry ultracentrifugation (ISDU) method of Clark and Rothschild. This method relies on sedimentation of the membrane fragments onto a gravitational isopotential surface with simultaneous evaporation of the solvent in a vacuum ultracentrifuge to promote alignment. The degree of alignment obtainable using ISDU, as monitored by ESR measurements of molecular ordering for both lipid (16-PC) and cholestane spin labels (CSL), in dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) model membranes compares favorably with that obtainable by pressure-annealing. The much gentler conditions under which membranes may be aligned by ISDU greatly extends the range of macroscopically aligned membrane samples that may be investigated by ESR. We report the first ESR study of an integral membrane protein, bacteriorhodopsin (BR) in well-aligned multilayers. We have also examined ISDU-aligned DPPC multilayers incorporating a short peptide gramicidin A' (GA), with higher water content than previously studied. 0.24 mol% BR/DPPC membranes with CSL probe show two distinct components, primarily in the gel phase, which can be attributed to bulk and boundary regions of the bilayer. The boundary regions show sharply decreased molecular ordering and spectral effects comparable to those observed from 2 mol% GA/DPPC membranes. The boundary regions for both BR and GA also exhibit increased fluidity as monitored by the rotational diffusion rates. The high water content of the GA/DPPC membranes reduces the disordering effect as evidenced by the reduced populations of the disordered components. The ESR spectra obtained slightly below the main phase transition of DPPC from both the peptide- and protein-containing membranes reveals a new component with increased ordering of the lipids associated with the peptide or protein. This increase coincides with a broad endothermic peak in the DSC, suggesting a disaggregation of both the peptide and the protein before the main phase transition of the lipid. Detailed simulations of the multicomponent ESR spectra have been performed by the latest nonlinear least-squares methods, which have helped to clarify the spectral interpretations. It is found that the simulations of ESR spectra from CSL in the gel phase for all the lipid membranes studied could be significantly improved by utilizing a model with CSL molecules existing as both hydrogen-bonded to the bilayer interface and non-hydrogen-bonded within the bilayer. © 1994, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Ge, M., Budil, D. E., & Freed, J. H. (1994). ESR studies of spin-labeled membranes aligned by isopotential spin-dry ultracentrifugation: lipid-protein interactions. Biophysical Journal, 67(6), 2326–2344.

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