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J Biochem. 1984 Oct;96(4):1231-9.

Interaction of digitonin and its analogs with membrane cholesterol.


The interaction of digitonin with membrane cholesterol was studied by using various digitonin analogs, and radioactive desglucodigitonin. The following results were obtained concerning the effect of digitonin on erythrocytes, granulocytes and liposomes. Digitonin and its analogs showed activity to induce hemolysis, granulocyte activation and liposomal membrane damage. The activity was affected by change of the carbohydrate residue of the molecule; the order of hemolytic activity was digitonin greater than or equal to desglucodigitonin much greater than glucosyl-galactosyl-digitogenin greater than galactosyl-digitogenin, digitogenin. The relative activities of these compounds to induce granulocyte activation and liposomal membrane damage were similar to those observed in the hemolysis. [3H]Desglucodigitonin could bind to cholesterol in liposomes. The binding was stoichiometric and the ratio of desglucodigitonin bound to liposomes/cholesterol in liposomes was close to 1, irrespective of the cholesterol content in liposome. Damage to liposomes was, however, induced by desglucodigitonin only when they contained more than 0.2 molar ratio of cholesterol to phospholipid. Addition of digitonin as well as desglucodigitonin to preformed liposomes deprived of cholesterol affected the anisotropic molecular motion of spin-labeled phosphatidylcholine incorporated into the liposomes, suggesting that the molecules could be inserted into the lipid bilayer free of cholesterol. Molecules of desglucodigitonin in the lipid phase may, however, be equilibrated with those in the aqueous phase, unless they form a complex with cholesterol, since no appreciable amount of [3H]desglucodigitonin could be detected in the liposome fraction after separation by column chromatography. Digitonin decreased the order parameter of spin-labeled phosphatidylcholine when liposomes contained equimolar cholesterol.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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