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Biophys J. 1993 Jan;64(1):137-49.

Dipyrenylphosphatidylcholines as membrane fluidity probes. Pressure and temperature dependence of the intramolecular excimer formation rate.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029-6574.


We have measured the pressure dependence of the intramolecular excimer formation rate, K(p), for di-(1'-pyrenedecanoyl)-phosphatidylcholine (dipy10PC) probes in single-component lipid multilamellar vesicles (MLV) as a function of temperature. Apparent volumes of activation (V(a)) for intramolecular excimer formation are obtained from the slopes of plots of log K(p) versus P. For liquid-crystalline saturated lipid MLV (DMPC and DPPC), these plots are linear and yield a unique V(a) at each temperature, whereas for unsaturated lipids (POPC and DOPC) they are curvilinear and V(a) appears to decrease with pressure. The isothermal pressure induced phase transition is marked by an abrupt drop in the values of K(p). The pressure to temperature equivalence values, dPm/dT, estimated from the midpoint of the transitions, are 47.0, 43.5, and 52.5 bar degree C-1 for DMPC, DPPC, and POPC, respectively. In liquid-crystalline DMPC, V(a) decreases linearly as a function of temperature, with a coefficient -dVa/dT = 0.65 +/- 0.11 ml degree C-1 mol-1. Using a modified free volume model of diffusion, we show that this value corresponds to the thermal expansivity of DMPC. Both the apparent energy and entropy of activation, Ea and delta Sa, increase with pressure in DMPC, whereas both decrease in POPC and DOPC. This difference is attributed to the sensitivity of the dynamics and/or packing of the dipy10PC probes to the location of the cis-double bonds in the chains of the unsaturated host phospholipids. Finally, the atmospheric pressure values of Ea and delta Sa for the four host MLV examined are shown to be linearly related. The relevance of this finding with respect to the structure of the excimers formed by the dipy10PC probes is briefly discussed.

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