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Biophys J. 2016 Apr 26;110(8):1800-1810. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.03.012.

Polyunsaturated Lipids Regulate Membrane Domain Stability by Tuning Membrane Order.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas.
2
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas.
3
Lipotype GmbH, Dresden, Germany.
4
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas. Electronic address: ilya.levental@uth.tmc.edu.

Abstract

The plasma membrane (PM) serves as the functional interface between a cell and its environment, hosting extracellular signal transduction and nutrient transport among a variety of other processes. To support this extensive functionality, PMs are organized into lateral domains, including ordered, lipid-driven assemblies termed lipid rafts. Although the general requirements for ordered domain formation are well established, how these domains are regulated by cell-endogenous mechanisms or exogenous perturbations has not been widely addressed. In this context, an intriguing possibility is that dietary fats can incorporate into membrane lipids to regulate the properties and physiology of raft domains. Here, we investigate the effects of polyunsaturated fats on the organization of membrane domains across a spectrum of membrane models, including computer simulations, synthetic lipid membranes, and intact PMs isolated from mammalian cells. We observe that the ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid is robustly incorporated into membrane lipids, and this incorporation leads to significant remodeling of the PM lipidome. Across model systems, docosahexaenoic acid-containing lipids enhance the stability of ordered raft domains by increasing the order difference between them and coexisting nonraft domains. The relationship between interdomain order disparity and the stability of phase separation holds for a spectrum of different perturbations, including manipulation of cholesterol levels and high concentrations of exogenous amphiphiles, suggesting it as a general feature of the organization of biological membranes. These results demonstrate that polyunsaturated fats affect the composition and organization of biological membranes, suggesting a potential mechanism for the extensive effects of dietary fat on health and disease.

PMID:
27119640
PMCID:
PMC4850323
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2016.03.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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