Disentanglement of heterogeneous dynamics in mixed lipid systems

Biophys J. 2011 Apr 20;100(8):L40-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.03.005.


Static phosphorous NMR has been a powerful technique for the study of model supramolecular phospholipid structures. Application to natural lipid bilayers with complex compositions, however, has been severely limited by the difficulty in deconvoluting overlapping broad lineshapes. We demonstrate a solution to this problem, using a global fit to a few slow magic-angle spinning spectra, in combination with an adaptation of Boltzmann statistics maximum entropy. The method provides a model-free means to characterize a heterogeneous mix of lipid dynamics via a distribution of (31)P chemical shift anisotropies. It is used here to identify clear changes in membrane dynamics of a phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol mixture, mimicking an Escherichia coli membrane upon addition of just 2% of the antimicrobial peptide maculatin 1.1. This illustration opens the prospect for investigation of arbitrarily complex natural lipid systems, important in many areas of biophysical chemistry and biomedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Entropy
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*


  • Membrane Lipids