Lateral organization and domain formation in a two-component lipid membrane system

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The thermodynamic phase behavior and lateral lipid membrane organization of unilamellar vesicles made from mixtures of 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) and 1,2 distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC) were investigated by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) as a function of temperature and composition. This was done by incorporating a headgroup-labeled lipid donor (NBD-DPPE) and acceptor (N-Rh-DPPE) in low concentrations into the binary mixtures. Two instances of increased energy transfer efficiency were observed close to the phase lines in the DMPC/DSPC phase diagram. The increase in energy transfer efficiency was attributed to a differential preference of the probes for dynamic and fluctuating gel/fluid coexisting phases. This differential preference causes the probes to segregate (S. Pedersen, K. Jørgensen, T. R. Baekmark, and O. G. Mouritsen, 1996, Biophys. J. 71:554-560). The observed increases in energy transfer match with the boundaries of the DMPC/DSPC phase diagram, as measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). We propose that the two instances of probe segregation are due to the presence of DMPC-rich and DSPC-rich domains, which form a dynamic structure of gel/fluid coexisting phases at two different temperatures. Monitoring the melting profile of each lipid component independently by FTIR shows that the domain structure is formed by DMPC-rich and DSPC-rich domains rather than by pure DMPC and DSPC domains.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1819-1828
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

ID: 230988085