We measured the effects of two branched-chain analogs of distearoyl-phosphatidylcholine, containing either a methyl or an n-butyl group at the 8 position, on the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of dielaidoylphosphatidylethanolamine. The former compound raised the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature while the latter compound lowered it. The opposite effects of these amphiphiles on protein kinase C activity (inhibition and activation, respectively) correlated with their effects on lipid polymorphism. Because of the similarity of the structures of these two compounds, it seems likely that their opposite effects on the activity of protein kinase C is a result of their alteration of the lipid environment of the membrane rather than to binding to a specific site on the protein.
We also compared the effects of hexachlorophene on lipid polymorphism and protein kinase C activity at high and at low calcium concentrations. We also found that the effect of hexachlorophene forming a complex with Ca2+ is to increase both the hexagonal phase forming propensity of the membrane as well as to increase the activity of protein kinase C, again demonstrating the correlation between lipid phase propensity and effects on protein kinase C activity.