Send to

Choose Destination
Biophys J. 2009 Apr 8;96(7):2727-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.12.3926.

pH dependence of sphingosine aggregation.

Author information

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Center for Biomembrane Systems, University of California, Irvine, California, USA.


Sphingosine and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) are sphingolipid metabolites that act as signaling messengers to activate or inhibit multiple downstream targets to regulate cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. The amphiphilic nature of these compounds leads to aggregation above their critical micelle concentrations (CMCs), which may be important for understanding lysosomal glycosphingolipid storage disorders. We investigated the aggregation of sphingosine and S1P over a comprehensive, physiologically relevant range of pH values, ionic strengths, and lipid concentrations by means of dynamic light scattering, titration, and NMR spectroscopy. The results resolve discrepancies in literature reports of CMC and pK(a) values. At physiological pH, the nominal CMCs of sphingosine and S1P are 0.99 +/- 0.12 microM (pH 7.4) and 14.35 +/- 0.08 microM (pH 7.2), respectively. We find that pH strongly affects the aggregation behavior of sphingosine by changing the ionic and hydrogen-bonding states; the nominal critical aggregation concentrations of protonated and deprotonated sphingosine are 1.71 +/- 0.24 microM and 0.70 +/- 0.02 microM, respectively. NMR measurements revealed that the NH3+-NH2 transition of sphingosine occurs at pH 6.6, and that there is a structural shift in sphingosine aggregates caused by a transition in the predominant hydrogen-bonding network from intramolecular to intermolecular that occurs between pH 6.7 and 9.9.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center