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Interaction of Spin-Labeled Lipid Membranes with Transition Metal Ions

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 10:22 authored by Boris Dzikovski, Vsevolod Livshits, Jack Freed
The large values of spin relaxation enhancement (RE) for PC spin-labels in the phospholipid membrane induced by paramagnetic metal salts dissolved in the aqueous phase can be explained by Heisenberg spin exchange due to conformational fluctuations of the nitroxide group as a result of membrane fluidity, flexibility of lipid chains, and, possibly, amphiphilic nature of the nitroxide label. Whether the magnetic interaction occurs predominantly via Heisenberg spin exchange (Ni) or by the dipole–dipole (Gd) mechanism, it is essential for the paramagnetic ion to get into close proximity to the nitroxide moiety for efficient RE. For different salts of Ni the RE in phosphatidylcholine membranes follows the anionic Hofmeister series and reflects anion adsorption followed by anion-driven attraction of paramagnetic cations on the choline groups. This adsorption is higher for chaotropic ions, e.g., perchlorate. (A chaotropic agent is a molecule in water solution that can disrupt the hydrogen bonding network between water molecules.) However, there is no anionic dependence of RE for model membranes made from negatively charged lipids devoid of choline groups. We used Ni-induced RE to study the thermodynamics and electrostatics of ion/membrane interactions. We also studied the effect of membrane composition and the phase state on the RE values. In membranes with cholesterol a significant difference is observed between PC labels with nitroxide tethers long enough vs not long enough to reach deep into the membrane hydrophobic core behind the area of fused cholesterol rings. This study indicates one must be cautious in interpreting data obtained by PC labels in fluid membranes in terms of probing membrane properties at different immersion depths when it can be affected by paramagnetic species at the membrane surface.