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Cooperative properties of lipid bilayers : collective director fluctuations and the effects of hydrophobic mismatch in protein/lipid membrane systems


Watnick, Paula Ivonne (1989) Cooperative properties of lipid bilayers : collective director fluctuations and the effects of hydrophobic mismatch in protein/lipid membrane systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/j3wj-vz40.


Cooperative director fluctuations in lipid bilayers have been postulated for many years. ^2H-NMR T_1^(-1), T_(1P)^(-1) , and T_2^(-1); measurements have been used identify these motions and to determine the origin of increased slow bilayer motion upon addition of unlike lipids or proteins to a pure lipid bilayer.

The contribution of cooperative director fluctuations to NMR relaxation in lipid bilayers has been expressed mathematically using the approach of Doane et al.^1 and Pace and Chan.^2 The T_2^(-1)’s of pure dimyristoyllecithin (DML) bilayers deuterated at the 2, 9 and 10, and all positions on both lipid hydrocarbon chains have been measured. Several characteristics of these measurements indicate the presence of cooperative director fluctuations. First of all, T_2^(-1) exhibits a linear dependence on S2/CD. Secondly, T_2^(-1) varies across the ^2H-NMR powder pattern as sin^2 (2, β), where , β is the angle between the average bilayer director and the external magnetic field. Furthermore, these fluctuations are restricted near the lecithin head group suggesting that the head group does not participate in these motions but, rather, anchors the hydrocarbon chains in the bilayer.

T_2^(-1)has been measured for selectively deuterated liquid crystalline DML hilayers to which a host of other lipids and proteins have been added. The T_2^(-1) of the DML bilayer is found to increase drastically when chlorophyll a (chl a) and Gramicidin A' (GA') are added to the bilayer. Both these molecules interfere with the lecithin head group spacing in the bilayer. Molecules such as myristic acid, distearoyllecithin (DSL), phytol, and cholesterol, whose hydrocarbon regions are quite different from DML but which have small,neutral polar head groups, leave cooperative fluctuations in the DML bilayer unchanged.

The effect of chl a on cooperative fluctuations in the DML bilayer has been examined in detail using ^2H-NMR T_1^(-1), T_(1P)^(-1) , and T_2^(-1); measurements. Cooperative fluctuations have been modelled using the continuum theory of the nematic state of liquid crystals. Chl a is found to decrease both the correlation length and the elastic constants in the DML bilayer.

A mismatch between the hydrophobic length of a lipid bilayer and that of an added protein has also been found to change the cooperative properties of the lecithin bilayer. Hydrophobic mismatch has been studied in a series GA' / lecithin bilayers. The dependence of 2H-NMR order parameters and relaxation rates on GA' concentration has been measured in selectively deuterated DML, dipalmitoyllecithin (DPL), and DSL systems. Order parameters, cooperative lengths, and elastic constants of the DML bilayer are most disrupted by GA', while the DSL bilayer is the least perturbed by GA'. Thus, it is concluded that the hydrophobic length of GA' best matches that of the DSL bilayer. Preliminary Raman spectroscopy and Differential Scanning Calorimetry experiments of GA' /lecithin systems support this conclusion. Accommodation of hydrophobic mismatch is used to rationalize the absence of H_(II) phase formation in GA' /DML systems and the observation of H_(II) phase in GA' /DPL and GA' /DSL systems.

1. J. W. Doane and D. L. Johnson, Chem. Phy3. Lett., 6, 291-295 (1970). 2. R. J. Pace and S. I. Chan, J. Chem. Phy3., 16, 4217-4227 (1982).

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chan, Sunney I.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 August 1988
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02072014-135012645
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8065
Deposited By: John Wade
Deposited On:07 Feb 2014 22:56
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:01

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