We report a simple new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic method to investigate order and dynamics in phosphotipids in which inter- proton pair order parameters are derived by using high resolution 13C cross-polarization/magic angle spinning (CP/MAS) NMR combined with 1H dipolar echo preparation. The resulting two-dimensional NMR spectra permit determination of the motionally averaged interpair second moment for protons attached to each resolved 13C site, from which the corresponding interpair order parameters can be deduced. A spin-lock mixing pulse before cross- polarization enables the detection of spin diffusion amongst the different regions of the lipid molecules. The method was applied to a variety of model membrane systems, including 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC)/sterol and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC)/sterol model membranes. The results agree well with previous studies using specifically deuterium labeled or perdeuterated phospholipid molecules. It was also found that efficient spin diffusion takes place within the phospholipid acyl chains, and between the glycerol backbone and choline headgroup of these molecules. The experiment was also applied to biosynthetically 13C-labeled ergosterol incorporated into phosphatidylcholine bilayers. These results indicate highly restricted motions of both the sterol nucleus and the aliphatic side chain, and efficient spin exchange between these structurally dissimilar regions of the sterol molecule. Finally, studies were carried out in the lamellar liquid crystalline (L(α))and inverted hexagonal (H(II)) phases of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE). These results indicated that phosphatidylethanolamine lamellar phases are more ordered than the equivalent phases of phosphatidylcholines. In the H(II) (inverted hexagonal) phase, despite the increased translational freedom, there is highly constrained packing of the lipid molecules, particularly in the acyl chain region.
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