Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) imaging has been used to investigate the incorporation of phospholipids into the plasma membrane of PC12 cells after incubation with phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). The incubations were done at concentrations previously shown to change the rate of exocytosis in model cell lines. The use of TOF-SIMS in combination with an in situ freeze fracture device enables the acquisition of ion images from the plasma membrane in single PC12 cells. By incubating cells with deuterated phospholipids and acquiring ion images at high mass resolution, specific deuterated fragment ions were used to monitor the incorporation of lipids into the plasma membrane. The concentration of incorporated phospholipids relative to the original concentration of PC was thus determined. The observed relative amounts of phospholipid accumulation in the membrane range from 0.5 to 2% following 19 h of incubation with PC at 100-300 μM and from 1 to 9% following incubation with PE at the same concentrations. Phospholipid accumulation is therefore shown to be dependent on the concentration in the surrounding media. In combination with previous exocytosis results, the present data suggests that very small changes in the plasma membrane phospholipid concentration are sufficient to produce significant effects on important cellular processes, such as exocytosis in PC12 cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry