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FEBS Lett. 2006 May 1;580(10):2471-6. Epub 2006 Apr 7.

Effect of anti-tumor ether lipids on ordered domains in model membranes.

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Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacy, Abo Akademi University, Tykistokatu 6A, 20520 Turku, Finland.


1-O-octadecyl-2-O-methyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (OMPC, edelfosine) and 1-hexadecylphosphocholine (HePC, miltefosine) represent two groups of synthetic ether lipid analogues with anti-tumor activity. Because of their hydrophobic nature, they may become incorporated into plasma membranes of cells, and it has been argued that they may act via association with lipid rafts. With the quenching of steady-state fluorescence of probes preferentially partitioning into sterol-rich ordered domains (cholestatrienol and trans-parinaric acid), we showed that OMPC and HePC by themselves did not form sterol-rich domains in fluid model membranes, in contrast to the two chain ether lipid 1,2-O-dihexadecyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine. Nevertheless, all three ether lipids significantly stabilized palmitoyl-sphingomyelin/cholesterol-rich domains against temperature induced melting. In conclusion, this study shows that anti-tumor ether lipids are likely to affect the properties of cholesterol-sphingomyelin domains (i.e., lipid rafts) when incorporated into cell membranes.

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