Modulation of myelin basic protein-induced aggregation and fusion of liposomes by cholesterol, aliphatic aldehydes and alkanes Academic Article uri icon

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  • The effect of cholesterol on myelin basic protein-induced aggregation of zwitterionic phospholipid vesicles was studied by turbidimetry, quasi-elastic light scattering and centrifugation techniques. Without cholesterol, the degree of vesicle aggregation caused by myelin basic protein is relatively low and is only slightly increased using cholesterol concentrations up to approx. 25-30 mol%. When the cholesterol content in the bilayer exceeds approx. 30 mol%, there is a dramatic increase in the susceptibility of the vesicles to aggregation in the presence of myelin basic protein. Palmitoyl aldehyde and eicosane, substances resembling products of lipid degradation, increase myelin basic protein promoted fusion of vesicles. The fusion is accompanied by increased leakage of entrapped carboxyfluorescein. In the presence of cholesterol, myelin basic protein-induced fusion of the liposomes becomes much more sensitive to the presence of aliphatic aldehydes or alkanes. The results suggest that cholesterol has an important role in promoting membrane adhesion in biological systems but these structures become unstable in the presence of small amounts of products of lipid degradation. The findings have important implications to the understanding of the stability of the myelin membrane.


  • Surewicz, Witold K
  • Epand, Richard
  • Epand, Raquel F
  • Hallett, F Ross
  • Moscarello, Mario A

publication date

  • December 1986