The sterol ergosterol (Erg) is ubiquitous in the membranes of lower eukaryotes such as fungi. To investigate the interactions between Erg and phosphocholine (PC) molecules, we studied ternary lipid mixture systems composed of unsaturated 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC), saturated 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phophocholine (DPPC), and Erg. Bilayer membrane fluidity and polarity were systematically analyzed using fluorescent probes. The presence of ≥30 mol % of Erg exhibited a significant ordering effect and stabilized membrane properties when temperatures increased, suggesting that Erg has a similar function to cholesterol (Chol) in comparable lipid systems that form a liquid-ordered phase. Erg was also observed to have a significant condensing effect at the monolayer level in saturated PC-enriched systems. The phase behavior of Erg in bilayer systems was compared with that of Chol, with the data suggesting that Erg behaves in a similar manner to Chol in membranes enriched with saturated lipids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry