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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2005 Feb 1;434(1):150-8.

Comparative lipid analysis and structure of detergent-resistant membrane raft fractions isolated from human and ruminant erythrocytes.

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Institute of Biophysics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria.


The lipid composition and structure of detergent-resistant membrane rafts from human, goat, and sheep erythrocytes is investigated. While the sphingomyelin:cholesterol ratio varied from about 1:5 in human to 1:1 in sheep erythrocytes a ratio of 1:1 was found in all raft preparations insoluble in Triton X-100 at 4 degrees C. Excess cholesterol is excluded from rafts and saturated molecular species of sphingomyelin assayed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry determines the solubility of cholesterol in the detergent. Freeze-fracture electron microscopy shows that vesicles and multilamellar structures formed by membrane rafts have undergone considerable rearrangement from the original membrane. No membrane-associated particles are observed. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies showed that d spacings of vesicle preparations of rafts cannot be distinguished from ghost membranes from which they are derived. Dispersions of total polar lipid extracts of sheep rafts show phase separation of inverted hexagonal structure upon heating and this phase coexists with multilamellar structures at 37 degrees C.

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