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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Jan;1808(1):298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

Laurdan and di-4-ANEPPDHQ do not respond to membrane-inserted peptides and are good probes for lipid packing.

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The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Laurdan and di-4-ANEPPDHQ are used as probes for membrane order, with a blue shift in emission for membranes in liquid-ordered (lo) phase relative to membranes in liquid-disordered (ld) phase. Their use as membrane order probes requires that their spectral shifts are unaffected by membrane proteins, which we have examined by using membrane inserting peptides and large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs). The transmembrane polypeptides, mastoparan and bovine prion protein-derived peptide (bPrPp), were added to LUVs of either lo or ld phase, up to 1:10 peptide/total lipid ratio. The excitation and emission spectra of laurdan and di-4-ANEPPDHQ in both lipid phases were unaltered by peptide addition. The integrity and size distribution of the LUVs upon addition of the polypeptides were determined by dynamic light scattering. The insertion efficiency of the polypeptides into LUVs was determined by measuring their secondary structure by circular dichroism. Mastoparan had an α-helical and bPrPp a β-strand conformation compatible with insertion into the lipid bilayer. Our results suggest that the presence of proteins in biological membranes does not influence the spectra of laurdan and di-4-ANEPPDHQ, supporting that the dyes are appropriate probes for assessing lipid order in cells.

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