Biochimica et biophysica acta

Dynamics of pH-dependent self-association and membrane binding of a dicarboxylic porphyrin: a study with small unilamellar vesicles.

PMID 14967478


Steady-state and stopped-flow measurements of the absorbance and fluorescence of aqueous solutions were performed to characterize the pH-dependent ionization and aggregation states of deuteroporphyrin. Porphyrin self-association promoted by neutralization of the carboxylic groups takes place within a few milliseconds impeding characterization of the monomer ionization states. Extrapolation at infinite dilution of the values obtained from steady-state measurements yielded the pKs of the carboxylic groups (6.6, 5.3) and inner nitrogens (4.1, 2.3). The kinetics of interactions of the porphyrin with unilamellar fluid state dioleoylphosphatidylcholine vesicles was examined in a large pH range, with focus on the entry step. From alkaline pH to a value of 6.5, the entrance rate is maximal (1.69 x 10(6) M(-1) s(-1) versus phospholipid concentration). It decreases to 2.07 x 10(5) M(-1) s(-1) at lower pH with an apparent pK of 5.39. This effect appears to be related to the formation of porphyrin dimer rather than to the protonation of inner nitrogen. In keeping with previous data, these results support the concept of a pH-mediated selectivity of carboxylic porphyrins for tumor. They also indicate that the propensity of these molecules to self-associate at low pH could yield to some retention in acidic intracellular vesicles of the endosome/lysosome compartment.