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Biochemistry. 2000 Nov 7;39(44):13462-8.

Sterols and sphingolipids strongly affect the growth of fusion pores induced by the hemagglutinin of influenza virus.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Physiology, Rush Medical College, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Cells expressing the hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza virus were fused to planar phospholipid bilayer membranes to evaluate the effects of sterols and sphingolipids in the target bilayer membranes on properties of fusion pores. Typically, in the absence of sterol, flickering pores are observed, followed by a successful pore (i.e., a pore that fully opens). The incorporation of cholesterol into the lipid bilayer had a marked effect: it greatly decreased the number of flickers, and the first pore formed was usually successful. Similar effects were produced by the sterols epicholesterol and 5beta-cholestanol. In contrast, the sterols cholesteryl acetate, coprostanol, and stanolone did not affect pore flickering, and a successful pore was observed to follow the typical number of flickers. 5alpha-cholestanol gave intermediate results. From these results, it follows that the 3-OH of cholesterol is essential to reduce flickering, but it does not matter if the 3-OH is in an alpha or beta configuration. The double bond is also not critical for the actions of cholesterol nor is the fact that it is a flat molecule. The sphingolipids sphingomyelin, lactosyl cerebroside, and glucosyl cerebroside tended to inhibit full pore enlargement, prolonging the stage of pore flickering. If a sphingolipid and a sterol that strongly interact were both included in the planar membrane, the pattern of flickering was the same as if neither had been included in the bilayer. However, if a sphingolipid and sterol that do not interact with each other were included in the bilayer, the reduced flickering characteristic of the sterol was observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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