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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Dec 6;91(25):12130-4.

Interactions between saturated acyl chains confer detergent resistance on lipids and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins: GPI-anchored proteins in liposomes and cells show similar behavior.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794.


Proteins anchored by GPI are poorly solubilized from cell membranes by cold nonionic detergents because they associate with detergent-resistant membranes rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids. In this study, we demonstrated that cholesterol and sphingolipid-rich liposomes were incompletely solubilized by Triton X-100. GPI-anchored placental alkaline phosphatase incorporated in these liposomes was also not solubilized by cold Triton X-100. As sphingolipids have much higher melting temperatures (Tm) than cellular phospholipids, a property correlated with Tm might cause detergent inextractability. In support of this idea, we found that the low-Tm lipid dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) was efficiently extracted from detergent-resistant liposomes by Triton X-100, whereas the high-Tm lipid dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) was not. The fluorescence polarization of liposome-incorporated diphenylhexatriene was measured to determine the "fluidity" of the detergent-resistant liposomes. We found that these liposomes were about as fluid as DPPC/cholesterol liposomes, which were present in the liquid-ordered phase, and much less fluid than DOPC or DOPC/cholesterol liposomes. These findings may explain the behavior of GPI-anchored proteins, which often have saturated fatty acyl chains and should prefer a less-fluid membrane. Therefore, we propose that acyl chain interactions can influence the association of GPI-anchored proteins with detergent-resistant membrane lipids. The affinity of GPI-anchored proteins for a sphingolipid-rich membrane phase that is not in the liquid crystalline state may be important in determining their cellular localization.

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