The Affinity of Sterols for Different Phospholipid Classes and Its Impact on Lateral Segregation

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Nyholm TKM, Jaikishan S, Engberg O, Hautala V, Slotte JP
Publisher: Cell Press
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Biophysical Journal
Journal acronym: Biophys J
Volume number: 116
Issue number: 2
Start page: 296
End page: 307
ISSN: 1542-0086


Cholesterol is an essential molecule in the membranes of mammalian cells. It is known to be distributed heterogeneously within the cells, between the bilayer leaflets, as well as between lateral domains within the bilayer. However, we do not know exactly how cholesterol is distributed and what forces drive this sorting process because it extremely difficult to study using currently available methods. To further elucidate this distribution, we measured how cholesterol partitions between different phospholipid (PL) environments using different methods based on cholesterol, TopFluor-cholesterol, and cholesta-5,7,9(11)-triene-3-β-ol. Based on the obtained relative partition coefficients, we made predictions regarding how cholesterol would be distributed between lateral domains and between the inner and outer leaflets of the plasma membrane. In addition, using a trans-parinaric acid fluorescence-based method, we tested how cholesterol could influence lateral segregation through its interaction with unsaturated PLs with different headgroups. The results showed that the lower the affinity of cholesterol was for the different unsaturated PLs, the more cholesterol stimulated lateral segregation in a ternary bilayer of unsaturated PL/N-palmitoyl-D-erythro-sphingomyelin and cholesterol. Overall, the results indicate that both the distribution of cholesterol between different lipid environments and the impact of cholesterol on lateral segregation can be predicted relatively accurately from determined relative partition coefficients.

Last updated on 2020-10-04 at 07:33