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Biophys J. 2005 Apr;88(4):2638-49. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Multilayer structures in lipid monolayer films containing surfactant protein C: effects of cholesterol and POPE.

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Institut für Biochemie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


The influence of cholesterol and POPE on lung surfactant model systems consisting of DPPC/DPPG (80:20) and DPPC/DPPG/surfactant protein C (80:20:0.4) has been investigated. Cholesterol leads to a condensation of the monolayers, whereas the isotherms of model lung surfactant films containing POPE exhibit a slight expansion combined with an increased compressibility at medium surface pressure (10-30 mN/m). An increasing amount of liquid-expanded domains can be visualized by means of fluorescence light microscopy in lung surfactant monolayers after addition of either cholesterol or POPE. At surface pressures of 50 mN/m, protrusions are formed which differ in size and shape as a function of the content of cholesterol or POPE, but only if SP-C is present. Low amounts of cholesterol (10 mol %) lead to an increasing number of protrusions, which also grow in size. This is interpreted as a stabilizing effect of cholesterol on bilayers formed underneath the monolayer. Extreme amounts of cholesterol (30 mol %), however, cause an increased monolayer rigidity, thus preventing reversible multilayer formation. In contrast, POPE, as a nonbilayer lipid thought to stabilize the edges of protrusions, leads to more narrow protrusions. The lateral extension of the protrusions is thereby more influenced than their height.

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