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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Aug 19;1564(1):173-82.

La(3+) and Gd(3+) induce shape change of giant unilamellar vesicles of phosphatidylcholine.

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Materials Science, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Shizuoka University, 422-8529 Japan.


Lanthanides such as La(3+) and Gd(3+) are well known to have large effects on the function of membrane proteins such as mechanosensitive ionic channels and voltage-gated sodium channels, and also on the structure of phospholipid membranes. In this report, we have investigated effects of La(3+) and Gd(3+) on the shape of giant unilamellar vesicle (GUV) of dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC-GUV) and GUV of DOPC/cholesterol by the phase-contrast microscopy. The addition of 10-100 microM La(3+) (or Gd(3+)) through a 10-microm diameter micropipette near the DOPC-GUV (or DOPC/cholesterol-GUV) triggered several kinds of shape changes. We have found that a very low concentration (10 microM) of La(3+) (or Gd(3+)) induced a shape change of GUV such as the discocyte via stomatocyte to inside budded shape transformation, the two-spheres connected by a neck to prolate transformation, and the pearl on a string to cylinder (or tube) transformation. To understand the effect of these lanthanides on the shape of the GUV, we have also investigated phase transitions of 30 microM dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine-multilamellar vesicle (DPPC-MLV) by the ultra-sensitive differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The chain-melting phase transition temperature and the L(beta') to P(beta') phase transition temperature of DPPC-MLV increased with an increase in La(3+) concentration. This result indicates that the lateral compression pressure of the membrane increases with an increase in La(3+) concentration. Thereby, the interaction of La(3+) (or Gd(3+)) on the external monolayer membrane of the GUV induces a decrease in its area (A(ex)), whereas the area of the internal monolayer membrane (A(in)) keeps constant. Therefore, the shape changes of the GUV induced by these lanthanides can be explained reasonably by the decrease in the area difference between two monolayers (DeltaA=A(ex)-A(in)).

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