Interactions and dynamics of two extended conformation adapting phosphatidylcholines in model biomembranes

Mooud Amirkavei, Paavo Kinnunen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In order to obtain molecular level insight into the biophysics of the apoptosis promoting phospholipid 1-palmitoyl-2-azelaoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PazePC) we studied its partitioning into different lipid phases by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). To aid the interpretation of these data for PazePC, we additionally characterized by both ITC and fluorescence spectroscopy the fluorescent phospholipid analog 1-palmitoyl-2-{6-[(7-nitro-2-1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl)amino]hexanoyl}-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (NBD-C6-PC), which similarly to PazePC can adopt extended conformation in lipid bilayers. With the NBD-hexanoyl chain reversing its direction and extending into the aqueous space out of the bilayer, 7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl (NBD) becomes accessible to the water soluble dithionite, which reduces to non-fluorescent product. Our results suggest that these phospholipid derivatives first partition and penetrate into the outer bilayer leaflet of liquid disordered phase liposomes composed of unsaturated 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC). Upon increase up to 2 mol% PazePC and NBD-C6-PC of the overall content, flip-flop from the outer into the inner bilayer leaflet commences. Interestingly, the presence of 40 mol% cholesterol in POPC liposomes did not abrogate the partitioning of PazePC into the liquid ordered phase. In contrast, only insignificant partitioning of PazePC and NBD-C6-PC into sphingomyelin/cholesterol liposomes was evident, highlighting a specific membrane permeability barrier function of this particular lipid composition against oxidatively truncated PazePC, thus emphasizing the importance of detailed characterization of the biophysical properties of membranes found in different cellular organelles, in terms of providing barriers for lipid-mediated cellular signals in processes such as apoptosis. Our data suggest NBD-C6-PC to represent useful fluorescent probe to study the cellular dynamics of oxidized phospholipid species, such as PazePC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • ITC
  • Lipid phase
  • Liposome
  • NBD-C-PC
  • Oxidized phosphatidylcholine


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