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Biochemistry. 1977 Apr 5;16(7):1283-90.

Mechanistic interpretation of the influence of lipid phase transitions on transport functions.


In an attempt to understand the mechanism by which a structural change of membrane lipids affects transport functions, the temperature dependence of transport rate has been measured to below the low temperature end of the fluid in equilibrium ordered phase transition of the membrane lipids. The unsaturated fatty acid requiring Escherichia coli strain T105 was supplemented with either trans-delta9-octadecenoate or trans-delta9-hexadecenoate or supplemented with and subsequently starved for cis-delta9-octadecenoate. Fluid in equilibrium ordered phase transitions measured in whole cells using the fluorescence probe N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine were compared with the temperature dependence of beta-glucoside and beta-galactoside transport. In addition to the previously observed downward "break" in the Arrhenius plot of transport rate which occurred near the middle of the phase transition temperature range, a second upward "break" was observed which could be correlated with the low-temperature end of the phase transition. These experiments are interpreted in terms of a partitioning of transport proteins between ordered and fluid domains which is described by a lateral distribution coefficient, k. This distribution coefficient varies with the membrane lipid composition as well as with the transport system. Values for k suggest a 2-20-fold preference for the partitioning of transport proteins into the fluid parts of the membrane.

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