Barotropic and thermotropic bilayer phase behavior of positional isomers of unsaturated mixed-chain phosphatidylcholines
ABSTRACT The bilayer phase transitions of six kinds of mixed-chain phosphatidylcholines (PCs) with an unsaturated acyl chain in the sn-1 or sn-2 position, 1-oleoyl-2-stearoyl- (OSPC), 1-stearoyl-2-oleoyl- (SOPC), 1-oleoyl-2-palmitoyl- (OPPC), 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl- (POPC), 1-oleoyl-2-myristoyl- (OMPC) and 1-myristoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (MOPC), were observed by means of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and high-pressure light transmittance measurements. Bilayer membranes of SOPC, POPC and MOPC with an unsaturated acyl chain in the sn-2 position exhibited only one phase transition, which was identified as the main transition between the lamellar gel (Lβ) and liquid crystalline (Lα) phases. On the other hand, the bilayer membranes of OSPC, OPPC and OMPC with an unsaturated acyl chain in the sn-1 position exhibited not only the main transition but also a transition from the lamellar crystal (Lc) to the Lβ (or Lα) phase. The stability of their gel phases was markedly affected by pressure and chain length of the saturated acyl chain in the sn-2 position. Considering the effective chain lengths of unsaturated mixed-chain PCs, the difference in the effective chain length between the sn-1 and sn-2 acyl chains was proven to be closely related to the temperature difference of the main transition. That is, a mismatch of the effective chain length promotes a temperature difference of the main transition between the positional isomers. Anomalously small volume changes of the Lc/Lα transition for the OPPC and OMPC bilayers were found despite their large enthalpy changes. This behavior is attributable to the existence of a cis double bond and to significant inequivalence between the sn-1 and sn-2 acyl chains, which brings about a small volume change for chain melting due to loose chain packing, corresponding to a large partial molar volume, even in the Lc phase. Further, the bilayer behavior of unsaturated mixed-chain PCs containing an unsaturated acyl chain in the sn-1 or sn-2 position was well explained by the chemical-potential diagram of a lipid in each phase.