The mechanism of the lamellar/inverted cubic (Q II) phase transition is related to that of membrane fusion in lipid systems. N-Monomethylated dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE-Me) exhibits this transition and is commonly used to investigate the effects of exogenous substances, such as viral fusion peptides, on the mechanism of membrane fusion. We studied DOPE-Me phase behavior as a first step in evaluating the effects of membrane-spanning peptides on inverted phase formation and membrane fusion. These measurements show that: a) the onset temperatures for Q II and inverted hexagonal (H II) phase formation both are temperature scan rate-dependent; b) longer pre-incubation times at low temperature and lower temperature scan rates favor formation of the Q II phase; and c) in temperature-jump experiments between 61 and 65°C, the meta-stable H II phase forms initially, and disappears slowly while the Q II phase develops. These observations are rationalized in the context of a mechanism for both the lamellar/non-lamellar phase transition and the related process of membrane fusion.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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