The interaction of lipid soluble spin labels with wheat embryo axes has been investigated to obtain insight into the structural organization of lipid domains in embryo cell membranes, using conventional electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and saturation transfer EPR (ST-EPR) spectroscopy. Stearic acid spin labels (n-SASL) and their methylated derivatives (n-MeSASL), labelled at different positions of their doxyl group (n=5, 12 and 16), were used to probe the ordering and molecular mobility in different regions of the lipid moiety of axis cell membranes. The ordering and local polarity in relation to the position of the doxyl group along the hydrocarbon chain of SASL, determined over the temperature range from -50 to 20oC, are typical for biological and model lipid membranes, but essentially differ from those in seed oil droplets. Positional profiles for ST-EPR spectra show that the flexibility profile along the lipid hydrocarbon chain does exist even at low temperatures, when most of the membrane lipids are in solid state (gel phase). The ordering of the SASL nitroxide radical in the membrane surface region is essentially higher than that in the depth of the membrane. The doxyl groups of MeSASLs are less ordered (even at low temperatures) than those of the corresponding SASLs, indicating that the MeSASLs are located in the bulk of membrane lipids rather than in the protein boundary lipids. The analysis of the profiles of EPR and ST-EPR spectral parameters allows us to conclude that the vast majority of SASL and MeSASL molecules accumulated in embryo axes is located in the cell membranes rather than in the interior of the oil bodies. The preferential partitioning of the doxyl stearates into membranes demonstrates the potential of the EPR spin-labelling technique for the in situ study of membrane behavior in seeds of different hydration levels.
Vishnyakova, E., Ruuge, A., Golovina, E. A., Hoekstra, F. A., & Tikhonov, A. N. (2000). Spin labeling study of membranes in wheat embryo axes. 1. Partitioning of doxyl stearates into the lipid domains. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Biomembranes, 1467, 380-394. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-2736(00)00234-0