Investigating lipid interactions and the process of raft formation in cellular membranes using ToF-SIMS

Carolyn M. McQuaw, Audra G. Sostarecz, Leiliang Zheng, Andrew G. Ewing, Nicholas Winograd

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There is an increased interest in how lipids interact with each other, especially in the lateral separation of lipids into coexisting liquid phases as this is believed to be an attribute of raft formation in cell membranes. ToF-SIMS has shown itself to be an excellent tool for investigating cellular and model membrane systems and will be perhaps the most powerful one for investigating raft formation. Results from our laboratory show the capability of ToF-SIMS at identifying unequivocally the content of coexisting liquid lipid phases. Using supported lipid monolayers we find that the inclusion of dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DPPE) to a homogeneous dipalmitoyl-phosphatidylcholine (DPPC)/cholesterol phase results in the formation of cholesterol-rich domains [A.G. Sostarecz, C.M. McQuaw, A.G. Ewing, N. Winograd, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126 (2004) 13882]. Also, for DPPE/cholesterol systems a single homogeneous DPPE/cholesterol phase is formed at ∼50 mol% cholesterol, whereas DPPC/cholesterol systems form a single phase at 30 mol% cholesterol [C.M. McQuaw, A. Sostarecz, L. Zheng, A.G. Ewing, N. Winograd, Langmuir 21 (2005) 807]. Currently we are exploring the incorporation of sphingomyelin into phospholipid-cholesterol mixtures in an effort to gain a better understanding of its role in raft formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6716-6718
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jul 30 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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