By using a shell-modeling analysis for small-angle scattering data of ganglioside micellar dispersion, we recently reported that the elevation of temperature induces a significant shrinkage of the hydrophilic region of the ganglioside micelle, suggesting that the oligosaccharide chains with sialic acid residues of ganglioside molecules change the conformation, sensitively responding to a change in temperature (Hirai et al., 1996. Biophys. J. 70:1761-1768; J. Phys. Chem. 100:11675-11680). We have carried out further analyses of the temperature dependence of the structural parameters reported previously, and we have found clear evidence of reversible extrusion and occlusion of a large amount of water in the hydrophilic region of the ganglioside micelle in the physiological temperature range of 6- 60°C. The present results suggest a remarkable function of ganglioside molecules: they change the hydrophilicity of the cell surface locally as a response to variations in temperature. This phenomenon might be involved in various surface events, such as cell- cell interaction and cell surface-protein interaction.
Hirai, M., & Takizawa, T. (1998). Intensive extrusion and occlusion of water in ganglioside micelles with thermal reversibility. Biophysical Journal, 74(6), 3010–3014. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(98)78008-7