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Water dynamics in glycosphingolipid aggregates studied by LAURDAN fluorescence.

  • Author(s): Bagatolli, LA
  • Gratton, E
  • Fidelio, GD
  • et al.
Abstract

We have characterized the fluorescence properties of 6-dodecanoyl-2-dimethylamine-naphthalene (LAURDAN) in pure interfaces formed by sphingomyelin and 10 chemically related glycosphingolipids (GSLs).1 The GSLs contain neutral and anionic carbohydrate residues in their oligosaccharide chain. These systems were studied at temperatures below, at, or above the main phase transition temperature of the pure lipid aggregates. The extent of solvent dipolar relaxation around the excited fluorescence probe in the GSLs series increases with the magnitude of the glycosphingolipid polar headgroup below the transition temperature. This conclusion is based on LAURDAN's excitation generalized polarization (GPex) and fluorescence lifetime values found in the different interfaces. A linear dependence between the LAURDAN GPex and the intermolecular spacing among the lipid molecules was found for both neutral and anionic lipids in the GSLs series. This relationship was also followed by phospholipids. We conclude that LAURDAN in these lipid aggregates resides in sites containing different amounts of water. The dimension of these sites increases with the size of the GSLs polar headgroup. The GP function reports on the concentration and dynamics of water molecules in these sites. Upon addition of cholesterol to Gg4Cer, the fluorescence behavior of LAURDAN was similar to that of pure cerebrosides and sphingomyelin vesicles. This observation was attributed to a change in the interfacial hydration as well as changes in the shape and size of the Gg4Cer aggregates in the presence of cholesterol. After the addition of cholesterol to gangliosides, the changes in the LAURDAN's spectral parameters decrease progressively as the polar headgroup of these lipids becomes more complex. This finding suggests that the dehydration effect of cholesterol depends strongly on the curvature radius and the extent of hydration of these lipid aggregates. In the gel phase of phrenosine, GalCer, Gg3Cer, sulfatide, and sphingomyelin, the excitation red band (410 nm) of LAURDAN was reduced with respect to that of LAURDAN in the gel phase of pure phospholipids. This observation indicates a local environment that interacts differently with the ground state of LAURDAN in GSLs when compared with LAURDAN in phospholipids.

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