Indexed on: 09 Apr '98Published on: 09 Apr '98Published in: Biophysical Journal
It is well established that cholesterol induces the formation of a liquid-ordered phase in phosphatidylcholine (PC) bilayers. The goal of this work is to examine the influence of cholesterol on phosphatidylethanolamine polymorphism. The behavior of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (POPE)/cholesterol mixtures was characterized using infrared and 2H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (using POPE bearing a perdeuterated palmitoyl chain in the latter case). Our results reveal that cholesterol induces the formation of a liquid-ordered phase in POPE membranes, similar to those observed for various PC/cholesterol systems. However, the coexistence region of the gel and the liquid-ordered phases is different from that proposed for PC/cholesterol systems. The results indicate a progressive broadening of the gel-to-fluid phase transition, suggesting the absence of an eutectic. In addition, there is a progressive downshift of the end of the transition for cholesterol content higher than 10 mol %. Cholesterol has an ordering effect on the acyl chains of POPE, but it is less pronounced than for the PC equivalent. This study also shows that the cholesterol effect on the lamellar-to-hexagonal (L(alpha)-H(II)) phase transition is not monotonous. It shifts the transition toward the low temperatures between 0 and 30 mol % cholesterol but shifts it toward the high temperatures when cholesterol content is higher than 30 mol %. The change in conformational order of the lipid acyl chains, as probed by the shift of the symmetric methylene C-H stretching, shows concerted variations. Finally, we show that cholesterol maintains its chain ordering effect in the hexagonal phase.