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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1980 Aug 14;600(3):625-35.

Structural properties of phospholipids in the rat liver inner mitochondrial membrane.


1. The 31P-NMR characteristics of intact rat liver mitochondria, mitoplasts and isolated inner mitochondrial membranes, as well as mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine, have been examined. 2. Rat liver mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine hydrated in excess aqueous buffer undergoes a bilayer-to-hyexagonal (HII) polymorphic phase transition as the temperature is increased through 10 degrees C, and thus prefers the HII arrangement at 37 degrees C. Rat liver mitochondiral phosphatidylcholine, on the other hand, adopts the bilayer phase at 37 degrees C. 3. Total inner mitochondrial membrane lipids. dispersed in an excess of aqueous buffer, exhibit 31P-NMR spectra consistent with a bilayer arrangment for the majority of the endogeneous phospholipids; the remainer exhibit spectra consistent with structure allowing isotropic motional averaging. Addition of Ca2+ results in hexagonal (HII) phase formation for a portion of the phospholipids, as well as formation of 'lipidic particles' as detected by freeze-fracture techniques. 4. Preparations of inner mitochondrial membrane at 4 and 37 degrees C exhibit 31P-NMR spectra consistent with a bilayer arrangement of the large majority of the endogenous phospholipids which are detected. Approx. 10% of the signal intensity has characteristics indicating isotropic motional averaging processes. Addition of Ca2+ results in an increase in the size of this component, which can become the domiant spectral feature. 5. Intact mitochondria, at 4 degrees C, exhibit 31P-NMR spectra arising from both phospholid and small water-soluble molecules (ADP, Pi, etc.). The phospholipid spectrum is characteristic of a bilayer arrangement. At 37 degrees C the phospholipids again give spectra consistent with a bilayer; however, the labile nature of these systems is reflected by increased isotropic motion at longer (at least 30 min) incubation times. 6. It is suggested that the uncoupling action of high Ca2+ concentrations on intact mitochondria may be related to a Ca2+-induced disruption of the integrity of the inner mitochondrial phospholipid bilayer. Further, the possibility that non-bilayer lipid structures such as inverted micelles occur in the inner mitochondrial membrane cannot be excluded.

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