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Biophys J. 2009 Aug 5;97(3):768-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.04.057.

Surfactant protein SP-B strongly modifies surface collapse of phospholipid vesicles: insights from a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation.

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Departamento Bioquímica y Biología Molecular I, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.


Pulmonary surfactant protein B (SP-B) facilitates the rapid transfer of phospholipids from bilayer stores into air-liquid interfacial films along the breathing cycle, and contributes to the formation of a surface-associated multilayer reservoir of surfactant to optimize the stability of the respiratory interface. To obtain more insights into the mechanisms underlying this transfer and multilayer formation, we established a simple model system that captures different features of SP-B action. We monitored the formation of supported planar bilayers from the collapse of intact phospholipid vesicles on a silica surface using a technique called quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation, which provides information on changes in membrane thickness and viscosity. At physiologically relevant concentrations, SP-B dramatically alters vesicle collapse. This manifests itself as a reduced buildup of intact vesicles on the surface before collapse, and allows the stepwise buildup of multilayered deposits. Accumulation of lipids in these multilayer deposits requires the presence of SP-B in both the receptor and the arriving membranes, surrounded by a comparable phospholipid charge. Thus, the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation system provides a useful, simplified way to mimic the effect of surfactant protein on vesicle dynamics and permits a detailed characterization of the parameters governing reorganization of surfactant layers.

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