In this work, we examine the ability of dipole modifiers, flavonoids, and RH dyes to affect the dipole potential (φ d) and phase separation in membranes composed of ternary mixtures of POPC with different sphingolipids and sterols. Changes in the steady-state conductance induced by cation–ionophore complexes have been measured to evaluate the changes in dipole potential of planar lipid bilayers. Confocal fluorescence microscopy has been employed to investigate lipid segregation in giant unilamellar vesicles. The effects of flavonoids on φ d depend on lipid composition and dipole modifier type. The effectiveness of RH dyes to increase φ d depends on sphingolipid type but is not influenced by sterol content. Tested modifiers lead to partial or complete disruption of gel domains in bilayers composed of POPC, sphingomyelin, and cholesterol. Substitution of cholesterol to ergosterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol leads to a loss of fluidizing effects of modifiers except phloretin. This may be due to various compositions of gel domains. The lack of influence of modifiers on phase scenario in vesicles composed of ternary mixtures of POPC, cholesterol, and phytosphingosine or sphinganine is related to an absence of gel-like phase. It was concluded that the membrane lateral heterogeneity affects the dipole-modifying abilities of the agents that influence the magnitude of φ d by intercalation into the bilayer and orientation of its own large dipole moments (phloretin and RH dyes). The efficacy of modifiers that do not penetrate deeply and affect φ d through water adsorption (phlorizin, quercetin, and myricetin) is not influenced by lateral heterogeneity of membrane.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2015
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