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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 Oct 1;1046(3):233-41.

Role of bovine pulmonary surfactant-associated proteins in the surface-active property of phospholipid mixtures.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


The surfactant-associated proteins, SP-A, SP-B and SP-C have been isolated from bovine pulmonary surfactant. The biophysical roles of SP-B and SP-C in reconstituted surfactants, with various phospholipid mixtures subjected to different thermal treatments, have been examined using a pulsating bubble surfactometer. The phospholipid mixtures were: (A) dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC)/egg phosphatidylcholine (PC)/egg phosphatidylglycerol (PG) (6:2:2, w/w); (B) DPPC/PG (9:1); and (C) DPPC/PG (7:3). Thermal treatments involved mixing SP-B or SP-C, at room temperature, with lipids in chloroform/methanol (9:1, v/v) and removing the solvent under N2 by (1) evaporation at room temperature; (2) evaporation at 45 degrees C; or (3) incubation at 45 degrees C overnight prior to evaporation at 45 degrees C. In all cases, 45 degrees C solvent evaporation was the most effective treatment. DPPC/egg PG (7:3) was the most favourable lipid composition. With either a static or a pulsating bubble, SP-C promoted a rapid decrease in surface tension with little change thereafter. This implies that SP-C is effective in enhancing phospholipid adsorption but does not play an important role in the removal of non-DPPC lipid from the monolayer. While SP-B was not as effective in facilitating phospholipid absorption, samples containing this protein could achieve near zero surface tension upon pulsation. A very low surface tension could also be attained during the initial pulsation of DPPC/PG plus SP-B mixtures which had been allowed to adsorb until equilibrium. This observation indicates that SP-B promotes the removal of PG from the monolayer. SP-A alone had only a slight effect on the surface activity of the DPPC/PG (7:3) mixture, and did not accelerate adsorption of samples containing SP-C. However, SP-A facilitated phospholipid adsorption and may also enhance the removal of PG from monolayers in the presence of SP-B.

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