Acid-induced fusion of liposomes: studies with 2,3-seco-5α-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid
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The effect of 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid on the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of dielaidoylphosphatidylethanolamine is markedly dependent on pH. Above pH 6.56, the 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid raises the temperature of this transition, i.e., it stabilizes the bilayer phase. At pH 6.56 there is little effect of this sterol derivative on the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of dielaidoylphosphatidylethanolamine. However, below pH 6.56, the 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid markedly lowers the temperature of this transition. The promotion of hexagonal phase formation increases both with increasing mol fraction of this sterol derivative and with lower pH, particularly in the range between pH 6.56 and pH 5.0. Below about pH 6, 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid also induces vesicle fusion as measured both by lipid mixing as well as by mixing of aqueous contents. For these assays vesicles made of phosphatidylethanolamine (made from egg phosphatidylcholine) and extruded through 0.2 micron pore membranes were used. At higher concentrations or at lower pH the 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid induces some leakage of the contents of these vesicles. Nevertheless, with vesicles containing only 2 weight% sterol derivative, it was possible to demonstrate substantial mixing of aqueous contents of the vesicles over the pH range 3.5 to 5.5. Several of the properties of 2,3-seco-5 alpha-cholestan-2,3-dioic acid indicate that this compound may be useful in sensitizing vesicles to acid-induced fusion for the purpose of endocytic drug delivery.
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