Relevance of lipid polar headgroups on boron-mediated changes in membrane physical properties

Sandra V. Verstraeten, Louise Lanoue, Carl L Keen, Patricia I. Oteiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Using liposomes composed of either brain phosphatidylcholine (PC), or binary mixtures of PC and phosphatidylserine (PS), galactolipids (GL), phosphatidylinositol (PI), cardiolipin (CL), phosphatidic acid (PA), or phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), we investigated the effects of graded amounts of boric acid (B, 0.5-1000 μM) on the following membrane physical properties: (a) surface potential, (b) lipid rearrangement through lateral phase separation, (c) fluidity, and (d) hydration. Incubation of the different populations of vesicles with B was associated with a small, but statistically significant, increase in membrane surface potential in PC, PC:PS, PC:GL, PC:PI, PC:PA, and PC:PE liposomes. B-induced lipid lateral rearrangement through lateral phase separation in PC, PC:PA, and PC:PE liposomes; but had no effects on PC:PS, PC:GL, and PC:PI liposomes. In PC liposomes B affected membrane fluidity at the water-lipid interface without affecting the hydrophobic core of the bilayer. In all the other binary liposomes studied, B increased membrane fluidity in both, the hydrophobic portion of the membrane and in the anionic domains. The above was associated with a decrease in the fluidity of the cationic domains. B (10-1000 μM) decreased membrane hydration regardless the composition of the liposomes. The obtained results demonstrate the ability of B to interact with membranes, and induce changes in membrane physical properties. Importantly, the extent of B-membrane interactions and the consequent effects were dependent on the nature of the lipid molecule; as such, B had greater affinity with lipids containing polyhydroxylated moieties such as GL and PI. These differential interactions may result in different B-induced modulations of membrane-associated processes in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


  • Boric acid
  • Boron deficiency
  • Lateral phase separation
  • Membrane fluidity
  • Membrane physical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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