It was recently shown that oligolamellar vesicles of 3:1 mixtures of dioleoylphosphatidyleth-anolamine (DOPE) and the photopolymerizable lipid 1, 2-bis [ 10-(2ʹ,4ʹ-hexadienoyloxy)decanoyl] -5M-glycero-3-phosphocholine (SorbPC) are destabilized by polymerization of the SorbPC [Lamparski, H., Liman, U., Frankel, D.A., Barry, J.A., Ramaswami, V., Brown, M.F., & O'Brien, D.F. (1992) Biochemistry 31, 685-694]. The current work describes the polymorphic phase behavior of these mixtures in extended bilayers, as studied by 31P NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. In the NMR experiments, samples with varying degrees of polymerization were slowly raised in temperature, with spectra acquired every 2.5-10 °C. In the unpolymerized mixiture, and in those photopolymerized samples where the monomeric SorbPC was decreased by 33% and 51%, an isotropic signal grew progressively until no signal from the lamellar liquid-crystalline (Lα) phase remained. In the highly polymerized sample with a 90% loss of monomeric SorbPC, less than 20% of the lipids underwent this transition. In none of the samples was an inverted hexagonal phase (HII) observed, under conditions of slow heating to almost 100 °C. The X-ray diffraction studies indicated that samples which exhibit the isotropic NMR signal corresponded to a structure exhibiting no well-defined crystalline order, which upon thermal cycling became an inverted cubic phase belonging to either the Pn3m or Pn3 space groups. The temperature of the transition to the cubic precursor decreased as the extent of polymerization increased, demonstrating that photopolymerization of these lipid bilayers can significantly alter the composition and thermotropic phase behavior of the mixture.
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