Dipole potential is the potential difference within the membrane bilayer, which originates due to the nonrandom arrangement of lipid dipoles and water molecules at the membrane interface. Cholesterol, an essential lipid in higher eukaryotic membranes, has previously been shown to increase membrane dipole potential. In this work, we explored the effect of stereoisomers of cholesterol, ent-cholesterol and epi-cholesterol, on membrane dipole potential, monitored by the dual wavelength ratiometric approach utilizing the probe di-8-ANEPPS. Our results show that cholesterol and ent-cholesterol share comparable ability in increasing membrane dipole potential. In contrast, epi-cholesterol displays a slight reduction in membrane dipole potential. Our results constitute the first report on the effect of stereoisomers of cholesterol on membrane dipole potential, and imply that an extremely subtle change in sterol structure can significantly alter the dipolar field at the membrane interface. These results assume relevance in the context of differential abilities of these stereoisomers of cholesterol in supporting the activity of the serotonin1A receptor, a representative G protein-coupled receptor. The close correlation between membrane dipole potential and receptor activity provides new insight in receptor-cholesterol interaction in terms of stereospecificity. We envision that membrane dipole potential could prove to be a sensitive indicator of lipid-protein interactions in biological membranes.
The role of membrane cholesterol as a crucial regulator in the structure and function of membrane proteins and receptors is well documented. However, there is a lack of consensus on the mechanism for such regulation. We have previously shown that the function of an important neuronal receptor, the serotonin1A receptor, is modulated by cholesterol in hippocampal membranes. With an overall objective of addressing the role of 3 membrane physical properties in receptor function, we measured the viscosity of hippocampal membranes of varying cholesterol content using a meso-substituted fluorophore (BODIPY-C12) based on the BODIPY probe. BODIPY-C12 acts as a fluorescent molecular rotor and allows measurement of hippocampal membrane viscosity through its characteristic viscosity-sensitive fluorescence depolarization. A striking feature of our results is that specific agonist binding by the serotonin1A receptor exhibits close correlation with hippocampal membrane viscosity, implying the importance of global membrane properties in receptor function. We envision that our results are important in understanding GPCR regulation by the membrane environment, and is relevant in the context of diseases in which GPCR signaling plays a major role and are characterized by altered membrane fluidity.Abbreviations: 2-AS, 2-(9-anthroyloxy)stearic acid; 12-AS, 12-(9-anthroyloxy)stearic acid; BODIPY, 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene; GPCR, G protein-coupled receptor; 8-12-PC, 1-palmitoyl-2-(12-doxyl)stearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine; DMPC, 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine; DOPC, 1,2-dioleoylsn-glycero-3-phosphocholine; MβCD, methyl-β-cyclodextrin; Tempo-PC, 1,2-dioleoyl-snglycero-3-phosphotempocholine Keywords: Molecular rotor; hippocampal membrane; viscosity; cholesterol; neuronal receptor IntroductionBiological membranes are complex, highly organized, two-dimensional, supramolecular assemblies of a diverse variety of lipids and proteins. The function of membranes is to allow cellular compartmentalization, and impart an identity to individual cells and organelles, besides providing an appropriate environment for proper functioning of membrane proteins. Interestingly, cellular membranes in the nervous system are characterized by very high concentration and remarkable diversity of lipids, and these are correlated with increased complexity in the function of the nervous system (Sastry, 1985;Wenk, 2005). In this context, cholesterol represents an important lipid since brain cholesterol has been implicated in a number of neurological disorders (Chattopadhyay and Paila, 2007;Martín et al., 2014), some of which share a common etiology of defective cholesterol 4 metabolism in the brain (Porter and Herman, 2011). More importantly, the function of neuronal receptors depends on cholesterol (Pucadyil and Chattopadhyay, 2006;Allen et al., 2007;Paila and Chattopadhyay, 2010;Jafurulla and Chattopadhyay, 2013), which affects neurotransmission, resulting in mood and anxiety disorders (Papakostas et al., 2004). In spite of ...
Sphingolipids are essential components of eukaryotic cell membranes and are known to modulate a variety of cellular functions. It is becoming increasingly clear that membrane lipids play a crucial role in modulating the function of integral membrane proteins such as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In this work, we utilized LY-B cells, that are sphingolipid-auxotrophic mutants defective in sphingolipid biosynthesis, to monitor the role of cellular sphingolipids in the function of an important neurotransmitter receptor, the serotonin receptor. Serotonin receptors belong to the family of GPCRs and are implicated in behavior, development and cognition. Our results show that specific ligand binding and G-protein coupling of the serotonin receptor exhibit significant enhancement under sphingolipid-depleted conditions, which reversed to control levels upon replenishment of cellular sphingolipids. In view of the reported role of sphingolipids in neuronal metabolism and pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric disorders, exploring the role of serotonin receptors under conditions of defective sphingolipid metabolism assumes relevance, and could contribute to our overall understanding of such neuropsychiatric disorders. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Lipid order/lipid defects and lipid-control of protein activity edited by Dirk Schneider.
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