Effect of trivalent metal ions on phase separation and membrane lipid packing: Role in lipid peroxidation

Sandra V. Verstraeten, Luciana V. Nogueira, Shirley Schreier, Patricia I. Oteiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The capacity of Al3+-related cations (Sc3+, Ga3+, In3+, Be2+, Y3+, and La3+) to promote membrane rigidification and lateral phase separation was evaluated in liposomes containing zwitterionic (phosphatidylcholine, PC) and negatively charged (phosphatidyiserine, PS) phospholipids. These effects were correlated with the capacity of the ions to stimulate Fe2+-supported lipid peroxidation. Al3+, Sc3+, Ga3+, In3+, Be2+, Y3+, and La3+ (50-200 μM) increased the order parameter of the fluorescent probe 1,3-diphenylhexatriene incorporated in PC:PS membranes. In addition, the electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of spin- labeled fatty acids indicated a reduction in lipid motion induced by Sc3+, Y3+, and La3+. The effect was found to extend down to carbon 16 on the acyl chain. The ions (10-200 μM) were also able to induce lateral phase separation, as evaluated from the increase in fluorescence quenching of the probe 2-(6-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)dodecanoyl-1- hexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine. The ability of the ions to alter membrane lipid packing and induce lateral phase separation correlated in a positive manner (r2 = 0.91 and 0.90, respectively) with their capacity to stimulate the production of Fe2+-initiated 2-thiobarbituric-reactive species, a measure of lipid peroxidation. These results show that Al3+- related metal ions cause membrane rigidification and phase separation, which could affect membrane-related processes. The results support the hypothesis that ions without redox capacity can stimulate Fe2+-initiated lipid peroxidation by increasing lipid packing and by promoting the formation of rigid clusters. Both processes will bring phospholipid acyl chains closer together, thus favoring the propagation step of lipid peroxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • cation-membrane interaction
  • fluorescent probe
  • lipid peroxidation
  • membrane rigidification
  • phase separation
  • spin label

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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