Packing properties 1-alkanols and alkanes in a phospholipid membrane

Peter Westh

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


We have used vibrating tube densitometry to investigate the packing properties of four alkanes and a homologous series of ten alcohols in fluid-phase membranes of dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine (DMPC). It was found that the volume change of transferring these compounds from their pure states into the membrane, Vm(puremem), was positive for small (C4-C6) 1-alkanols while it was negative for larger alcohols and all alkanes. The magnitude of Vm(puremem) ranged from about +4 cm3/mol for alcohols with an alkyl chain about half the length of the fatty acids of DMPC, to -10 to -15 cm3/mol for the alkanes and long chain alcohols. On the basis of these observations, previously published information on the structure of the membrane-solute complexes and the free volume properties of (pure) phospholipid membranes, we suggest that two effects dominate the packing properties of hydrophobic solutes in DMPC. First, perturbation of the tightly packed interfacial zone around the ester bonds and first few methylene groups of DMPC brings about a positive contribution to Vm(puremem). This effect dominates the volume behavior for alcohols like 1-butanol, 1-pentanol and 1-hexanol. More hydrophobic solutes penetrate into the membrane core, which is loosely packed. In this region, they partially occupy interstitial (or free-) volume, which bring about a denser molecular packing and generate a negative contribution to Vm(puremem).
TidsskriftBiophysical Chemistry
Sider (fra-til)61-68
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2006

Citer dette