Conformational study of lipophilic ligands in phospholipid model membrane systems by solution NMR. Academic Article uri icon


  • Phospholipid bicelles were employed as a membrane bilayer model in the conformational studies of two lipophilic cannabinoids, delta(8)-THC and its O-methyl ether analogue, Me-Delta(8)-THC using conventional high-resolution NMR. A preparation of 8% (w/v) phospholipid concentration and a high DMPC/DHPC ratio (q = 2.0) was found to be optimal for not only effectively incorporating our ligands, but also providing a more bilayerlike environment suitable for conformational studies. While the conformational differences between the two cannabinoids could not be observed in chloroform and were barely detectable in SDS micelle solution, there is an increasing preference for the pentyl tail of Delta(8)-THC to bend toward the tricyclic ring system with increasing proportions of DMPC in the bicelle preparation. Our results highlight the advantages of exploring the conformational properties of cannabinoids using bicelle preparations as a medium that more closely resembles biological membrane bilayers and eliminates the need for isotopic labeling. This approach should also be of more general value for studying the interactions of other cannabinoids and biologically active, hydrophobic or amphipathic, small molecules with membranes.

published proceedings

  • J Med Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Guo, J., Pavlopoulos, S., Tian, X., Lu, D., Nikas, S. P., Yang, D., & Makriyannis, A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Guo, Jianxin||Pavlopoulos, Spiro||Tian, Xiaoyu||Lu, Dai||Nikas, Spyros P||Yang, De-Ping||Makriyannis, Alexandros

publication date

  • November 2003