Properties of unsaturated phospholipid bilayers: effect of cholesterol

A.L. Rabinovich, V.V. Kornilov, N.K. Balabaev, F.A.M. Leermakers, A.V. Filippov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Properties of hydrated unsaturated phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipid bilayers containing 40 mol % cholesterol and of pure PC bilayers have been studied. Various methods were applied, including molecular dynamics simulations, self-consistent field calculations, and the pulsed field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance technique. Lipid bilayers were composed of 18:0/18:1(n-9)cis PC, 18:0/18:2(n-6)cis PC, 18:0/18:3(n-3)cis PC, 18:0/20:4(n-6)cis PC, and 18:0/22:6(n-3)cis PC molecules. Lateral self-diffusion coefficients of the lipids in all these bilayers, mass density distributions of atoms and atom groups with respect to the bilayer normal, the C-H and C-C bond order parameter profiles of each phospholipid hydrocarbon chain with respect to the bilayer normal were calculated. It was shown that the lateral self-diffusion coefficient of PC molecules of the lipid bilayer containing 40 mol % cholesterol is smaller than that for a corresponding pure PC bilayer; the diffusion coefficients increase with increasing the degree of unsaturation of one of the PC chains in bilayers of both types (i.e., in pure bilayers or in bilayers with cholesterol). The presence of cholesterol in a bilayer promoted the extension of saturated and polyunsaturated lipid chains. The condensing effect of cholesterol on the order parameters was more pronounced for the double C=C bonds of polyunsaturated chains than for single C-C bonds of saturated chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-357
JournalBiochemistry (Moscow) Supplemental Series A: Membrane and Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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