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Article

Order vs. Disorder: Cholesterol and Omega-3 Phospholipids Determine Biomembrane Organization

1
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, I-80126 Naples, Italy
2
CSGI (Consorzio per lo Sviluppo dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase), I-50019 Florence, Italy
3
Max Planck Institut für Kolloid und Grenzflächenforschung, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
4
Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino, I-61029 Urbino, Italy
5
Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) at Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ), 85748 Garching, Germany
6
Australian Synchrotron, ANSTO, Clayton 3168, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Debbie C. Crans and Tom Santangelo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(10), 5322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105322
Received: 6 April 2022 / Revised: 6 May 2022 / Accepted: 7 May 2022 / Published: 10 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipids: From the Structure, Function and Evolution to Applications)
Lipid structural diversity strongly affects biomembrane chemico-physical and structural properties in addition to membrane-associated events. At high concentrations, cholesterol increases membrane order and rigidity, while polyunsaturated lipids are reported to increase disorder and flexibility. How these different tendencies balance in composite bilayers is still controversial. In this study, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, small angle neutron scattering, and neutron reflectivity were used to investigate the structural properties of cholesterol-containing lipid bilayers in the fluid state with increasing amounts of polyunsaturated omega-3 lipids. Either the hybrid 1-stearoyl-2-docosahexaenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine or the symmetric 1,2-docosahexaenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine were added to the mixture of the naturally abundant 1-palmitoyl-2-oleyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and cholesterol. Our results indicate that the hybrid and the symmetric omega-3 phospholipids affect the microscopic organization of lipid bilayers differently. Cholesterol does not segregate from polyunsaturated phospholipids and, through interactions with them, is able to suppress the formation of non-lamellar structures induced by the symmetric polyunsaturated lipid. However, this order/disorder balance leads to a bilayer whose structural organization cannot be ascribed to either a liquid ordered or to a canonical liquid disordered phase, in that it displays a very loose packing of the intermediate segments of lipid chains. View Full-Text
Keywords: cholesterol; phospholipids; omega-3; electron paramagnetic resonance; small angle neutron scattering; neutron reflectivity cholesterol; phospholipids; omega-3; electron paramagnetic resonance; small angle neutron scattering; neutron reflectivity
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MDPI and ACS Style

de Santis, A.; Scoppola, E.; Ottaviani, M.F.; Koutsioubas, A.; Barnsley, L.C.; Paduano, L.; D’Errico, G.; Russo Krauss, I. Order vs. Disorder: Cholesterol and Omega-3 Phospholipids Determine Biomembrane Organization. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 5322. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105322

AMA Style

de Santis A, Scoppola E, Ottaviani MF, Koutsioubas A, Barnsley LC, Paduano L, D’Errico G, Russo Krauss I. Order vs. Disorder: Cholesterol and Omega-3 Phospholipids Determine Biomembrane Organization. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022; 23(10):5322. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105322

Chicago/Turabian Style

de Santis, Augusta, Ernesto Scoppola, Maria Francesca Ottaviani, Alexandros Koutsioubas, Lester C. Barnsley, Luigi Paduano, Gerardino D’Errico, and Irene Russo Krauss. 2022. "Order vs. Disorder: Cholesterol and Omega-3 Phospholipids Determine Biomembrane Organization" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23, no. 10: 5322. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105322

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