Standard methods of characterization of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra of spin-labeled biomembranes limit the resolution of lateral heterogeneity to only two or three domain types. This disables examination of the structure—function relationship in complex membranes, which might be composed of a larger number of different domain types. To enable exploration of this kind, a new approach based on analysis of EPR spectra with multi-run, hybrid evolutionary optimization is proposed here. From the multiple runs a quasi-continuous distribution of membrane spectral parameters (order parameter, proportion of spectral component, polarity correction factor, rotational correlation time and broadening constant) can be constructed and presented by a new presentation technique CODE (colored distribution of EPR spectral parameters). Through this the concept of a “soft” picture of membrane heterogeneity is introduced, in contrast to the standard “discrete” domain picture. The “soft” characterization method, established on synthetic spectra, was used to examine the lateral heterogeneity of liposome membranes as well as of membranes of neutrophils from healthy and asthmatic horses. In liposome membranes the determined number of domain types was the same as already established by standard procedures of EPR spectra line-shape interpretation. In membranes of neutrophils a quasi-continuous distribution of membrane domain properties was detected by the new method.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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