The influence of lysolipids on the spontaneous curvature and bending elasticity of phospholipid membranes

  • Fuller N
  • Rand R
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The effects of lysolipids on phospholipid layer curvature and bending elasticity were examined using x-ray diffraction and the osmotic stress method. Lysolipids with two different head groups, phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and differing hydrocarbon chains were mixed with the hexagonal-forming lipid, dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE). With up to 30 mole% lysolipid in DOPE, the mixture maintains the inverted hexagonal (HII) phase in excess water, where increasing levels of lysolipid result in a systematic increase in the HII lattice dimension. Analysis of the structural changes imposed by lysolipids show that, opposite to DOPE itself, which has an spontaneous radius of curvature (RD) of -30 Å, PC lysolipids add high positive curvature, with RD = +38 to +60 Å, depending on chain length. LysoPEs, in contrast, add very small curvatures. When both polar group and hydrocarbon chains of the added lysolipid mismatch those of DOPE, the structural effects are qualitatively different from otherwise. Such mismatched lysolipids "reshape" the effective combination molecule into a longer and more cylindrical configuration compared to those lysolipids with either matching polar group or hydrocarbon chain.

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  • N. Fuller

  • R. P. Rand

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