Interdigitation of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine mixed with complexes of acidic lipids and polymyxin B or polymyxin B nonapeptide

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1989 Oct 16;985(2):199-210. doi: 10.1016/0005-2736(89)90365-9.


A fatty acid spin label, 16-doxyl-stearic acid, was used to determine the percent interdigitated lipid in mixtures of a neutral phospholipid and an acidic phospholipid. Interdigitation of the acidic lipid was induced with polymyxin B (PMB) at a mole ratio of PMB to acidic lipid of 1:5. This compound does not bind significantly to neutral lipids or induce interdigitation of the neutral lipids by themselves. The neutral lipids used were dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC), dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), or dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DPPE), and the acidic lipids were dipalmitoylphosphatidylglycerol (DPPG) or dipalmitoylphosphatidic acid (DPPA). The percent interdigitated lipid was determined from the percent of the spin label which is motionally restricted, assuming that the spin label is homogeneously distributed in the lipid. Assuming further that 100% of the acidic lipid is interdigitated at this saturating concentration of PMB, the percentage of the neutral lipid which can become interdigitated along with it was calculated. The results indicate that about 20 mole % DPPC can be incorporated into and become interdigitated in the interdigitated bilayer of PMB/DPPG at 4 degrees C. As the temperature approaches the phase transition temperature, the lipid becomes progressively less interdigitated; this occurs to a greater degree for the mixtures than for the single acidic lipid. Thus the presence of DPPC promotes transformation of the acidic lipid to a non-interdigitated bilayer at higher temperatures. At the temperature of the lipid phase transition little or none of the lipid in the mixture is interdigitated. Thus the lipid phase transition detected by calorimetry is not that of the interdigitated bilayer. The shorter chain length DMPC can be incorporated to a greater extent than DPPC, 30-50 mol%, in the interdigitated bilayer of PMB-DPPG. This may be a result of reduced exposure of the terminal methyl groups of the shorter myristoyl chains at the polar/apolar interface of the interdigitated bilayer. Less than 29% of the total lipid was interdigitated in a DPPC/DPPA/PMB 1:1:0.2 mixture indicating that none of the DPPC in this mixture becomes interdigitated. This is attributed to the lateral interlipid hydrogen bonding interactions of DPPA which inhibits formation of an interdigitated bilayer. DPPE was found to be incorporated into the interdigitated bilayer of PMB-DPPG to a similar extent as DPPC if the amount of PMB added is sufficient to bind to only the DPPG in the mixture. Differential scanning calorimetry showed that the remaining non-interdigitated DPPE-enriched mixture phase separates into its own domain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Lipid Bilayers*
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phospholipids*
  • Polymyxin B*
  • Polymyxins*
  • Protein Binding
  • Spin Labels
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thermodynamics


  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phospholipids
  • Polymyxins
  • Spin Labels
  • 16-nitroxystearic acid
  • polymyxin B nonapeptide
  • Polymyxin B