Dependence of the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition on amphiphile chain length Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Several series of amphiphiles of increasing chain length were tested for their abilities to modify the L alpha-HII transition of dielaidoylphosphatidylethanolamine using differential scanning calorimetry. Acylcarnitines, alkyl sulfates, alkylsulfobetaines, and phosphatidylcholines, with chain lengths between about 6 and 12 carbon atoms, show an increasing capacity to raise the L alpha-HII phase transition temperature of phosphatidylethanolamine. This is ascribed to increased partitioning of the added amphiphile from water into the membrane as the chain length increases. Alkyl sulfates and alkyltrimethylammonium bromides have diminished capacities to raise the L alpha-HII transition temperature as the chain length is increased from 12 to 16. This is caused by an increase in the hydrophobic portion of the amphiphile leading to a change in the intrinsic radius of curvature and a decrease in the hydrocarbon packing constraints in the HII phase relative to the shorter chain amphiphiles. The L alpha-HII transition temperature of phosphatidylethanolamine with acylcarnitines of chain length 14-20 carbon atoms, alkylsulfobetaines above 14 carbon atoms, and phosphatidylcholines with acyl groups having above 10 carbon atoms is relatively insensitive to chain length. We suggest that this is caused by a balance between increasing hydrocarbon volume promoting the HII phase through decreased intrinsic radius of curvature and greater relief of hydrocarbon packing constraints vs greater intermolecular interactions favoring the more condensed L alpha phase. This latter effect is more important for amphiphiles with large headgroups which can pack more efficiently in the L alpha phase. The phosphatidylcholines show a gradual decrease in bilayer stabilization between 10 and 22 carbon atoms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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publication date

  • November 1989