ABSTRACT: Mammalian synaptic membranes appear to contain high proportions of specific, sn-1-stearoyl-2-docosahexaenoyl- and sn-1-stearoyl-2-arachidonoyl phosphoglycerides, but the structural significance of this is unclear. Here we used a standardized approach to compare the properties of homogeneous monolayers of the corresponding phosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylethanolamines, phosphatidylserines, and phosphatidic acids with those of control monolayers of sn-1-stearoyl-2-oleoyl- and sn-1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl phosphoglycerides. Major findings were: 1), that the presence of an sn-2-docosahexaenoyl group or an sn-2-arachidonoyl group increases the molecular areas of phosphoglycerides by 3.8 A(2) (7%) relative to the presence of an sn-2-oleoyl group; 2), that the phosphorylcholine headgroup independently increases molecular areas by a larger amount, 7.1 A(2) (13%); and 3), that the dipole moments of species having an arachidonoyl moiety or an oleoyl moiety are 83 mD (19%) higher than those of comparable docosahexaenoic acid-containing phosphoglycerides. These and other results provide new information about the molecular packing properties of polyenoic phosphoglycerides and raise important questions about the role of these phosphoglycerides in synapses.
Biophysical Journal 11/2003; 85(4):2384-96. · 3.65 Impact Factor