Journal of the American Chemical Society

Subtle Changes in Lipid Environment Have Profound Effects on Membrane Oxidation Chemistry.

PMID 30461271


Nature carefully designs the components of amphiphile-composed monolayer and bilayer membranes to deliver specific functions. The compositions of these interfacial layered structures are so delicate that minute modifications can result in huge changes in function. Great efforts have been expended to understand membrane physical properties, with only minimum attention given to associated chemical properties. Here we report the first examples of the delicate chemistry associated with membrane amphiphilic components by studying OH mediated oxidation of six different unsaturated li-pids/surfactants and their mixtures at the air-water interface using field-induced droplet ionization mass spectrometry (FIDI-MS). When the packing is loose or perturbed to be loose by other components or prior chemical modification, the double bond is oxidized without cleavage by adding oxygen functionality. In contrast, compact packing results in double bond cleavage through a Criegee intermediate mechanism. We postulate that constrained environments imposed by lipid packing limit the conformations of the reaction intermediates, controlling reaction pathways.