Modulation of the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition and solvation of phosphatidylethanolamines in aqueous salt solutions
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Several salts affect the temperature of the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition of phosphatidylethanolamines. Their effects are dependent on the anion as well as the cation of the salt. Salt effects on this transition can be explained by preferential hydration and ion binding. Those salts which are excluded from the solvation sphere of the membrane promote hexagonal phase formation. For example, Na2SO4 promotes preferential hydration and is a hexagonal phase promoter while NaSCN does not do this and is a bilayer stabilizer. Unlike amphiphiles and hydrocarbons, salts can shift the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature without altering the cooperativity of the transition. The effect of these salts on the gel to liquid-crystal transition is opposite to their effect on the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition. We also find that MnCl2 markedly raises the gel to liquid-crystal transition temperature. This effect is due to binding of the cation to the membrane surface. The effect is reduced with MnSO4 because of preferential hydration. Our results demonstrate that the nature of the anion as well as the cation can alter the effect of salts on lipid phase transition properties. The observed effects can be explained as resulting from preferential hydration and ion binding.
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