Interaction of sphingomyelins and phosphatidylcholines with fluorescent dehydroergosterol. Academic Article uri icon


  • The fluorescent sterol dehydroergosterol was used as a cholesterol analogue in conjunction with multifrequency phase and modulation (1-250 MHz) fluorometry to examine whether sterols (1) interact preferentially with fluid- or solid-phase phospholipids and (2) interact preferentially with sphingomyelin in phase-separated or phase-miscible cosonicated phospholipid membranes. Cosonicated small unilamellar vesicles (SUV) were produced by mixing lipids in organic solvents, drying the mixture, adding buffer, sonicating, and separating SUV. Phospholipids of synthetic as well as biological origin were utilized. In phase-separated, cosonicated SUV of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine/distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC/DSPC, 1:1 molar ratio), the fluorescent sterol (0.5 mol %) interacted preferentially with the fluid-phase lipid (partition coefficient, Kf/s = 2.6-3.4) according to four criteria. First, dehydroergosterol detected only the phase transition of DMPC, the phospholipid with the lower phase transition temperature. Second, the dehydroergosterol fluorescence polarization, limiting anisotropy, order parameter, and rotational relaxation time in the cosonicated vesicle were similar to those of dehydroergosterol in SUV composed only of DMPC. Third, the number of dehydroergosterol fluorescence lifetime components as well as the distribution in the cosonicated SUV was similar to that of dehydroergosterol in SUV composed of DMPC. Fourth, dehydroergosterol concentration-dependent self-quenching was detected in DSPC SUV at much lower dehydroergosterol concentration than in DMPC SUV. Preference of dehydroergosterol for fluid-phase lipids was also observed by monitoring dehydroergosterol exchange between individually sonicated DMPC SUV and DSPC SUV after the two types of vesicles were mixed in equal proportions. In these SUV mixtures, the dehydroergosterol also partitioned into the more fluid SUV, 99:1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Schroeder, F., & Nemecz, G.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Schroeder, F||Nemecz, G

publication date

  • July 1989