Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is used to examine mobility of labeled probes at specific sites in supported bilayers consisting of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) lipid domains in 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC). Those sites are mapped beforehand with simultaneous atomicforce microscopy and submicron confocal fluorescence imaging, allowing characterization of probe partitioning between gel DPPC and disordered liquid DOPC domains with corresponding topography of domain structure. We thus examine the relative partitioning and mobility in gel and disordered liquid phases for headgroup- and tailgroup-labeled GM1 ganglioside probes and for headgroup- and tailgroup-labeled phospholipid probes. For the GM1 probes, large differences in mobility between fluid and gel domains are observed; whereas unexpected mobility is observed in submicron gel domains for the phospholipid probes. We attribute the latter to domain heterogeneities that could be induced by the probe. Furthermore, fits to the FCS data for the phospholipid probes in the DOPC fluid phase require two components (fast and slow). Although proximity to the glass substrate may be a factor, local distortion of the probe by the fluorophore could also be important. Overall, we observe nonideal aspects of phospholipid probe mobility and partitioning that may not be restricted to supported bilayers. © 2005 by the Biophysical Society.
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