Fatty-acid chain tilt angles and directions in dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine bilayers
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X-ray diffraction has been applied to determine the various tilt angles and directions (if any) which can be assumed by oriented gel phase multilayers of dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) as a function of hydration. We report for the first time that oriented DPPC multilayers with a repeat spacing (d-spacing) of 55.2A at 25 degrees C and 0% relative humidity (RH) have hydrocarbon chains tilted at an angle theta of 21.5 degrees with respect to the bilayer normal. In addition, the chains are tilted along one of the bisectors (omega = 0 degrees) of the hexagonal lattice (8 wide-angle maxima, 2 unique), a phase not previously reported in DPPC studies. At 100% RH, the chain tilt angle and d-spacing increased to approximately 29.0 degrees and 58.9A, respectively. Since at 100% RH only 4 wide-angle maxima are observed, we analyze the data on the assumption that the hydrocarbon chains may rotate independently of the hexagonal lattice (omega = 0-30 degrees), at a fixed chain tilt angle theta (Stamatoff, J.B., et al. 1979. Biophys. J. 25:253-262). The largest observed angle phi made by the wide-angle maxima with the equator is 29.5 degrees corresponding to a theta of approximately 32.6 degrees (omega avg. = 24 degrees) and the sample having a d-spacing of 64.0 A (excess water condition). Finally, theta remains relatively constant (approximately 21.5 degrees) up to a RH of approximately 45% and a d-spacing of 57.8A, after which, with increases in RH, theta increases to a maximum of 32.6 degrees.
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