The complexity of biological membranes leads to the use of extremely simplified models in biophysical investigations of membrane-bound proteins and peptides. Liposomes are probably the most widely used membrane models due, especially, to their versatility in terms of electric charge and size. However, liquid-state NMR suffers the lack of such a model, because even the smallest liposomes slowly tumble in solution, resulting in a dramatic signals broadening. Micelles are typically used as good substitutes, with sodium dodecylsulphate (SDS) and dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) being the most widely employed surfactants. However, they are always used separately to mimic prokaryotic and eukaryotic membranes, respectively, and accurate investigations as a function of surface charge cannot be performed. In this work, the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of binary mixtures with different SDS/DPC ratios has been determined by following the chemical shift variation of selected (1)H and (31)P NMR signals as a function of total surfactant concentration. The regular solution theory and the Motomura's formalism have been applied to characterize the micellization both in water and in phosphate buffer saline, and results were compared with those obtained directly from the experimental NMR chemical shift. The ζ-potential and size distribution of the mixed micelles have been estimated with dynamic light scattering measurements. Results showed that SDS and DPC are synergic and can be used together to prepare mixed micelles with different negative/zwitterionic surfactants molar ratio.
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.