European biophysics journal : EBJ

Membrane chemical stability and seed longevity.

PMID 19823817


Here, we investigate the relationships between the chemical stability of the membrane surface and seed longevity. Dry embryos of long-lived tomato and short-lived onion seeds were labeled with 5-doxyl-stearic acid (5-DS). Temperature-induced loss of the electron spin resonance signal caused by chemical conversion of 5-DS to nonparamagnetic species was used to characterize the membrane surface chemical stability. No difference was found between temperature plots of 5-DS signal intensity in dry onion and tomato below 345 K. Above this temperature, the 5-DS signal remained unchanged in tomato embryos and irreversibly disappeared in onion seeds. The role of the physical state and chemical status of the membrane environment in the chemical stability of membrane surfaces was estimated for model systems containing 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) dried alone or in the presence of trehalose or glucose. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to follow temperature-induced structural changes in dry POPC. Spin-label technique was used to relate the chemical stability of 5-DS with the dynamic properties of the bilayer and 5-DS motion behavior. In all the models, the decrease in 5-DS signal intensity was always observed above T(m) for the membrane surface. The 5-DS signal was irreversibly lost at high temperature when dry POPC was embedded in a glucose matrix. The loss of 5-DS signal was moderate when POPC was dried alone or in the presence of trehalose. Comparison of model and in vivo data shows that the differences in longevity between onion and tomato seeds are caused by differences in the chemical status of the membrane surface rather than the degree of its immobilization.

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5-DOXYL-stearic acid, free radical