The influence of ceramide and its dihydro analog (Cer and DHCer, respectively; inclusively termed Cers) on sphingomyelin (SM) bilayers was examined. Fluorescent microscopy showed that SM/Cers binary bilayers undergo phase separation between Cers-rich and Cers-poor phases. Based on calorimetry, the content of Cers in the Cers-rich phase was estimated and the results show that DHCer in the DHCer-rich phase (17.5 mol%) is more condensed than Cer in the Cer-rich phase (15 mol%), likely due to a stronger intermolecular interaction of DHCer than that of Cer. Furthermore, the Cers-poor phase consists of almost pure SM. X-ray diffraction and water permeability measurements disclosed that the size of crystallites—lipid nano-clusters formed inside the Cers-rich phase—are larger for the DHCer-rich phase than those for the Cer-rich phase. Due to its stronger intermolecular interactions, DHCer could effectively suppress the inter-crystallite packing gaps to avoid the energetic disadvantage, resulting in formation of larger crystallites.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Organic Chemistry
- Cell Biology