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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distribution and movement of sterols with different side chain structures between the two leaflets of the membrane bilayer of mycoplasma cells.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum was adapted to grow with delta 5-sterols modified in the aliphatic side chain, and stopped-flow kinetic measurements of filipin association were made to estimate the sterol distribution between the two leaflets of the membrane. Cholesterol derivatives with unsaturated side chains (desmosterol, cis- and trans-22-dehydrocholesterol, and cholesta-5,22E,24-trien-3 beta-ol) or an alkyl substituent (beta-sitosterol) were predominantly (86-94%) localized in the outer leaflet of the bilayer. However, cholesterol, 20-isocholesterol, and sterols with side chains of varying lengths (in the 20(R)-n-alkylpregn-5-en-3 beta-ol series where the alkyl group ranged from ethyl to undecyl) were distributed nearly symmetrically between the two halves of the bilayer. Kinetic measurements of beta-[14C]sitosterol and [14C]desmosterol exchange between M. gallisepticum cells and an excess of sonicated sterol/phosphatidylcholine vesicles confirmed the filipin-binding studies. More than 90% of these radiolabeled sterols underwent exchange at 37 degrees C with unlabeled sterols in vesicles over a period of 12-14 h in the presence of 2% (w/v) albumin. beta-[14C]Sitosterol exchange was characterized by biphasic exchange kinetics, indicative of two pools of sitosterol molecules in the cell membrane. Only a single kinetic pool was detected for [14C]desmosterol exchange. Stopped flow measurements of filipin binding to beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol also revealed an asymmetrical localization of these sterols in membranes of growing Mycoplasma. capricolum cells. When an early exponential culture of beta-sitosterol- or stigmasterol-adapted M. capricolum was transferred to a sterol-rich medium at 37 degrees C, approximately three-quarters of the beta-sitosterol or stigmasterol was localized in the outer leaflet after growth was continued for 6 h; in contrast, cholesterol was distributed symmetrically after about 1 h. The asymmetric localization of sterols with alkylated or unsaturated side chains suggests that growth-supporting sterols need not be translocated extensively into the inner leaflet of the bilayers of M. gallisepticum and M. capricolum.[1]


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