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Lamellar Phases Composed of Phospholipid, Cholesterol, and Ceramide, as Studied by 2H NMR.


ABSTRACT: Sphingolipids constitute a significant fraction of cellular plasma membrane lipid content. Among sphingolipids, ceramide levels are usually very low. However, in some cell processes like apoptosis, cell membrane ceramide levels increase markedly because of the activation of enzymes like acid sphingomyelinase. This increase can change the physical state of the membrane by promoting molecular order and inducing solid-ordered (So) phase domains. This effect has been observed in a previous 2H NMR study on membranes consisting of palmitoyl sphingomyelin (PSM) and palmitoyl ceramide (PCer). Cholesterol (Chol), too, is present at high concentrations in mammalian plasma membranes and has a favorable interaction with sphingomyelin (SM), together forming domains in the liquid-ordered phase in model membranes. There are reports that Chol is able to displace ceramide (Cer) in SM bilayers and abolish the So phase domains formed by SM:Cer. This ability of Chol appears to be concentration dependent; in membranes with low Chol and high Cer contents, So phase domains rich in Cer coexist with the continuous fluid phase of the membrane. Here, we studied the effect of increasing PCer concentration in PSM:Chol bilayers, using 2H NMR. Chol:PCer mole ratios were 3:1, 3:2, and 3:3, at a fixed 7:3 phospholipid:cholesterol mol ratio. Both PSM and PCer were monitored in separate samples for changes in their physical state by introducing a perdeuterated palmitoyl chain in either molecule. Moreover, the effect of replacing PSM with DPPC was investigated to test the impact on membrane phase behavior of replacing the sphingosine with a palmitoylated glycerol backbone. We found that PCer can increase acyl chain order in both PSM:Chol and DPPC:Chol bilayers. Especially in bilayers with Chol:PCer 1:1 molar ratios, PCer induces highly stable So phase domains in both PSM and DPPC bilayers near 37°C. However, PCer has a more pronounced ordering effect on PSM compared to DPPC bilayers.

SUBMITTER: Siavashi R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6702149 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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