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Effect of Vesicle Size on the Prodan Fluorescence in Diheptadecanoylphosphatidylcholine Bilayer Membrane under Atmospheric and High Pressures

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journal contribution
posted on 17.08.2010 by Masaki Goto, Hiroshi Sawaguchi, Nobutake Tamai, Hitoshi Matsuki, Shoji Kaneshina
The bilayer phase behavior of diheptadecanoylphosphatidylcholine (C17PC) with different vesicle sizes (large multilamellar vesicle (LMV) and giant multilamellar vesicle (GMV)) was investigated by fluorescence spectroscopy using a polarity-sensitive fluorescent probe Prodan under atmospheric and high pressures. The difference in phase transitions and thermodynamic quantities of the transition was hardly observed between LMV and GMV used here. On the contrary, the Prodan fluorescence in the bilayer membranes changed depending on the size of vesicles as well as on the phase states. From the second derivative of fluorescence spectra, the three-dimensional image plots in which we can see the location of Prodan in the bilayer membrane as blue valleys were constructed for LMV and GMV under atmospheric pressure. The following characteristic behavior was found: (1) the Prodan molecules in GMV can be distributed to not only adjacent glycerol backbone region, but also near bulk-water region in the lamellar gel or ripple gel phase; (2) the blue valleys of GMV became deeper than those of LMV because of the greater surface density of the Prodan molecules per unit area of GMV than LMV; (3) the liquid crystalline phase of the bilayer excludes the Prodan molecules to a more hydrophilic region at the membrane surface with an increase in vesicle size; (4) the accurate information as to the phase transitions is gradually lost with increasing vesicle size. Under the high-pressure condition, the difference in Prodan fluorescence between LMV and GMV was essentially the same as the difference under atmospheric pressure except for the existence of the pressure-induced interdigitated gel phase. Further, we found that Prodan fluorescence spectra in the interdigitated gel phase were especially affected by the size of vesicles. This study revealed that the Prodan molecules can move around the headgroup region by responding not only to the phase state but also to the vesicle size, and they become a useful membrane probe, detecting important membrane properties such as the packing stress.