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J Membr Biol. 2005 Dec;208(3):193-202. Epub 2006 Apr 8.

Structure of fully hydrated fluid phase lipid bilayers with monounsaturated chains.

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  • 1Physics Department, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15213, USA.


Quantitative structures are obtained at 30 degrees C for the fully hydrated fluid phases of palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC), with a double bond on the sn-2 hydrocarbon chain, and for dierucoylphosphatidylcholine (di22:1PC), with a double bond on each hydrocarbon chain. The form factors F(qz) for both lipids are obtained using a combination of three methods. (1) Volumetric measurements provide F(0). (2) X-ray scattering from extruded unilamellar vesicles provides /F(qz)/ for low q(z). (3) Diffuse X-ray scattering from oriented stacks of bilayers provides /F(qz)/ for high q(z). Also, data using method (2) are added to our recent data for dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) using methods (1) and (3); the new DOPC data agree very well with the recent data and with (4) our older data obtained using a liquid crystallographic X-ray method. We used hybrid electron density models to obtain structural results from these form factors. The result for area per lipid (A) for DOPC 72.4 +/- 0.5 A(2) agrees well with our earlier publications, and we find A = 69.3 +/- 0.5 A2 for di22:1PC and A = 68.3 +/- 1.5 A2 for POPC. We obtain the values for five different average thicknesses: hydrophobic, steric, head-head, phosphate-phosphate and Luzzati. Comparison of the results for these three lipids and for our recent dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) determination provides quantitative measures of the effect of unsaturation on bilayer structure. Our results suggest that lipids with one monounsaturated chain have quantitative bilayer structures closer to lipids with two monounsaturated chains than to lipids with two completely saturated chains.

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