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Surface Occupancy Plays a Major Role in Cholesterol's Condensing Effect

Krause, Martin R.
Türkyılmaz, Serhan
Regen, Steven L.
The condensing power of cholesterol and 5 alpha-cholestane has been examined in liposomal membranes made from 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC). Quantitative nearest-neighbor recognition (NNR) analysis and fluorescence measurements using phase-sensitive probe Laurdan have demonstrated that 5 alpha-cholestane exhibits a substantially weaker condensing effect. This fact, in and of itself, provides compelling evidence that cholesterol's condensing effect is critically dependent on having its steroid nucleus at the membrane surface.