Chemistry and physics of lipids

NMR-based molecular ruler for determining the depth of intercalants within the lipid bilayer Part II. The preparation of a molecular ruler.

PMID 18691565


We have previously shown how the location of an intercalant within the lipid bilayer can be qualitatively determined by using the excellent correlation that exists between the 13C NMR chemical shift of a polarizable carbon (e.g., the carbonyl or nitronyl carbon) and the polarity (using the Dimroth-Reichardt's ET(30) parameter) of the microenvironment in which that carbon resides. In a companion paper, we have determined criteria for reporter molecules that will assist us in converting this qualitative polarity data into quantitative Angstrom values. In the present paper, we report on our initial success in quantitatively mapping of the DMPC bilayer by linking two or more vertical points within a bilayer by both distance (in Angstroms) and ET(30) polarity. The results correlated well with the values obtained using the "parallax method" of Erwin London.