• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of biophysjLink to Publisher's site
Biophys J. Oct 2001; 81(4): 2163–2171.
PMCID: PMC1301688

Structural evaluation of phospholipid bicelles for solution-state studies of membrane-associated biomolecules.


Several complementary physical techniques have been used to characterize the aggregate structures formed in solutions containing dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC)/dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine (DHPC) at ratios of < or =0.5 and to establish their morphology and lipid organization as that of bicelles. (31)P NMR studies showed that the DMPC and DHPC components were highly segregated over a wide range of DMPC/DHPC ratios (q = 0.05-0.5) and temperatures (15 degrees C and 37 degrees C). Only at phospholipid concentrations below 130 mM did the bicelles appear to undergo a change in morphology. These results were corroborated by fluorescence data, which demonstrated the inverse dependence of bicelle size on phospholipid concentration as well as a distinctive change in phospholipid arrangement at low concentrations. In addition, dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy studies supported the hypothesis that the bicellar phospholipid aggregates are disk-shaped. The radius of the planar domain of the disk was found to be directly proportional to the ratio of DMPC/DHPC and inversely proportional to the total phospholipid concentration when the DMPC/DHPC ratio was held constant at 0.5. Taken together, these results suggest that bicelles with low q retain the morphology and bilayer organization typical of their liquid-crystalline counterparts, making them useful membrane mimetics.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (181K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Castle JD, Hubbell WL. Estimation of membrane surface potential and charge density from the phase equilibrium of a paramagnetic amphiphile. Biochemistry. 1976 Nov 2;15(22):4818–4831. [PubMed]
  • Cohen DE, Thurston GM, Chamberlin RA, Benedek GB, Carey MC. Laser light scattering evidence for a common wormlike growth structure of mixed micelles in bile salt- and straight-chain detergent-phosphatidylcholine aqueous systems: relevance to the micellar structure of bile. Biochemistry. 1998 Oct 20;37(42):14798–14814. [PubMed]
  • Eum KM, Riedy G, Langley KH, Roberts MF. Temperature-induced fusion of small unilamellar vesicles formed from saturated long-chain lecithins and diheptanoylphosphatidylcholine. Biochemistry. 1989 Oct 3;28(20):8206–8213. [PubMed]
  • Gabriel NE, Roberts MF. Spontaneous formation of stable unilamellar vesicles. Biochemistry. 1984 Aug 28;23(18):4011–4015. [PubMed]
  • Gabriel NE, Roberts MF. Short-chain lecithin/long-chain phospholipid unilamellar vesicles: asymmetry, dynamics, and enzymatic hydrolysis of the short-chain component. Biochemistry. 1987 May 5;26(9):2432–2440. [PubMed]
  • Howard KP, Opella SJ. High-resolution solid-state NMR spectra of integral membrane proteins reconstituted into magnetically oriented phospholipid bilayers. J Magn Reson B. 1996 Jul;112(1):91–94. [PubMed]
  • Kensil CR, Dennis EA. Action of cobra venom phospholipase A2 on large unilamellar vesicles: comparison with small unilamellar vesicles and multibilayers. Lipids. 1985 Feb;20(2):80–83. [PubMed]
  • Koenig BW, Strey HH, Gawrisch K. Membrane lateral compressibility determined by NMR and x-ray diffraction: effect of acyl chain polyunsaturation. Biophys J. 1997 Oct;73(4):1954–1966. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kremer JM, Wiersema PH. Exchange and aggregation in dispersions of dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine vesicles containing myristic acid. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1977 Dec 15;471(3):348–360. [PubMed]
  • Kumar VV, Baumann WJ. Lanthanide-induced phosphorus-31 NMR downfield chemical shifts of lysophosphatidylcholines are sensitive to lysophospholipid critical micelle concentration. Biophys J. 1991 Jan;59(1):103–107. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kuwahara M, Verkman AS. Direct fluorescence measurement of diffusional water permeability in the vasopressin-sensitive kidney collecting tubule. Biophys J. 1988 Oct;54(4):587–593. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Losonczi JA, Prestegard JH. Improved dilute bicelle solutions for high-resolution NMR of biological macromolecules. J Biomol NMR. 1998 Oct;12(3):447–451. [PubMed]
  • Losonczi JA, Prestegard JH. Nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of the myristoylated, N-terminal fragment of ADP-ribosylation factor 1 in a magnetically oriented membrane array. Biochemistry. 1998 Jan 13;37(2):706–716. [PubMed]
  • Mazer NA, Benedek GB, Carey MC. Quasielastic light-scattering studies of aqueous biliary lipid systems. Mixed micelle formation in bile salt-lecithin solutions. Biochemistry. 1980 Feb 19;19(4):601–615. [PubMed]
  • Ottiger M, Bax A. Characterization of magnetically oriented phospholipid micelles for measurement of dipolar couplings in macromolecules. J Biomol NMR. 1998 Oct;12(3):361–372. [PubMed]
  • Ram P, Prestegard JH. Magnetic field induced ordering of bile salt/phospholipid micelles: new media for NMR structural investigations. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 May 24;940(2):289–294. [PubMed]
  • Ramirez BE, Voloshin ON, Camerini-Otero RD, Bax A. Solution structure of DinI provides insight into its mode of RecA inactivation. Protein Sci. 2000 Nov;9(11):2161–2169. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sanders CR, 2nd, Landis GC. Reconstitution of membrane proteins into lipid-rich bilayered mixed micelles for NMR studies. Biochemistry. 1995 Mar 28;34(12):4030–4040. [PubMed]
  • Sanders CR, 2nd, Prestegard JH. Magnetically orientable phospholipid bilayers containing small amounts of a bile salt analogue, CHAPSO. Biophys J. 1990 Aug;58(2):447–460. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sanders CR, 2nd, Schaff JE, Prestegard JH. Orientational behavior of phosphatidylcholine bilayers in the presence of aromatic amphiphiles and a magnetic field. Biophys J. 1993 Apr;64(4):1069–1080. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sanders CR, 2nd, Schwonek JP. Characterization of magnetically orientable bilayers in mixtures of dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine and dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine by solid-state NMR. Biochemistry. 1992 Sep 22;31(37):8898–8905. [PubMed]
  • Small DM. Phase equilibria and structure of dry and hydrated egg lecithin. J Lipid Res. 1967 Nov;8(6):551–557. [PubMed]
  • Stark RE, Gosselin GJ, Donovan JM, Carey MC, Roberts MF. Influence of dilution on the physical state of model bile systems: NMR and quasi-elastic light-scattering investigations. Biochemistry. 1985 Sep 24;24(20):5599–5605. [PubMed]
  • Struppe J, Komives EA, Taylor SS, Vold RR. 2H NMR studies of a myristoylated peptide in neutral and acidic phospholipid bicelles. Biochemistry. 1998 Nov 3;37(44):15523–15527. [PubMed]
  • Struppe J, Vold RR. Dilute bicellar solutions for structural NMR work. J Magn Reson. 1998 Dec;135(2):541–546. [PubMed]
  • Struppe J, Whiles JA, Vold RR. Acidic phospholipid bicelles: a versatile model membrane system. Biophys J. 2000 Jan;78(1):281–289. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tjandra N, Bax A. Direct measurement of distances and angles in biomolecules by NMR in a dilute liquid crystalline medium. Science. 1997 Nov 7;278(5340):1111–1114. [PubMed]
  • Vold RR, Prosser RS, Deese AJ. Isotropic solutions of phospholipid bicelles: a new membrane mimetic for high-resolution NMR studies of polypeptides. J Biomol NMR. 1997 Apr;9(3):329–335. [PubMed]
  • Whiles JA, Brasseur R, Glover KJ, Melacini G, Komives EA, Vold RR. Orientation and effects of mastoparan X on phospholipid bicelles. Biophys J. 2001 Jan;80(1):280–293. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ye RG, Verkman AS. Simultaneous optical measurement of osmotic and diffusional water permeability in cells and liposomes. Biochemistry. 1989 Jan 24;28(2):824–829. [PubMed]

Articles from Biophysical Journal are provided here courtesy of The Biophysical Society


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...