The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 208, Issue 3, pp 193-202

First online:

Structure of Fully Hydrated Fluid Phase Lipid Bilayers with Monounsaturated Chains

  • Norbert KučerkaAffiliated withPhysics Department, Carnegie Mellon University
  • , Stephanie Tristram-NagleAffiliated withPhysics Department, Carnegie Mellon University
  • , John F. NagleAffiliated withPhysics Department, Carnegie Mellon UniversityBiological Sciences Department, Carnegie Mellon University Email author 

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Quantitative structures are obtained at 30°C for the fully hydrated fluid phases of palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC), with a double bond on the sn-2 hydrocarbon chain, and for dierucoylphosphatidylcholine (di22:1PC), with a double bond on each hydrocarbon chain. The form factors F(q z ) for both lipids are obtained using a combination of three methods. (1) Volumetric measurements provide F(0). (2) X-ray scattering from extruded unilamellar vesicles provides ΙF(q z )Ι for low q z . (3) Diffuse X-ray scattering from oriented stacks of bilayers provides ΙF(q z )Ι for high q z . Also, data using method (2) are added to our recent data for dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) using methods (1) and (3); the new DOPC data agree very well with the recent data and with (4) our older data obtained using a liquid crystallographic X-ray method. We used hybrid electron density models to obtain structural results from these form factors. The result for area per lipid (A) for DOPC 72.4 ± 0.5 Å2 agrees well with our earlier publications, and we find A = 69.3 ± 0.5 Å2 for di22:1PC and A = 68.3 ± 1.5 Å2 for POPC. We obtain the values for five different average thicknesses: hydrophobic, steric, head-head, phosphate-phosphate and Luzzati. Comparison of the results for these three lipids and for our recent dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) determination provides quantitative measures of the effect of unsaturation on bilayer structure. Our results suggest that lipids with one monounsaturated chain have quantitative bilayer structures closer to lipids with two monounsaturated chains than to lipids with two completely saturated chains.


X-ray scattering Phospholipid bilayer Dierucoylphosphatidylcholine Palmitoyloleoyl- phosphatidylcholine Dioleoylphosphatidylcholine Unsaturated lipids Bilayer structure Area per lipid Fully hydrated fluid phase