Fluorescent probes alter miscibility phase boundaries in ternary vesicles

J Phys Chem B. 2007 Jan 25;111(3):502-4. doi: 10.1021/jp067636i.


We use 2H NMR to study the effects of probes on the miscibility transition in multilamellar vesicles of di(18:1) phosphatidylcholine (PC; DOPC), chain perdeuterated di(16:0)PC (DPPCd62), and cholesterol both with and without 0.5 mol % of the fluorescent probes DiIC12 and DiOC18. Both probes raise the miscibility transition temperature in dispersions of 1:1 DOPC/DPPCd62 + 30% cholesterol but to differing extents. In membranes containing the popular probe DiIC12, the fraction of DPPCd62 lipids in the liquid disordered phase is increased, and the ordering of that phase is reduced even at low temperatures. All findings are consistent with a probe-induced expansion of the entire miscibility phase boundary. We examine membranes with smaller DiIC12 fractions and find a significant increase in transition temperature for samples with 0.05 mol % DiIC12, demonstrating that trace components can dramatically alter membrane phase behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Temperature


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • Cholesterol