Structure of cholesterol/ceramide monolayer mixtures: Implications to the molecular organization of lipid rafts

L. Scheffer, I. Solomonov, M.J. Weygand, K. Kjær, L. Leiserowitz, L. Addadi

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The structure of monolayers of cholesterol/ ceramide mixtures was investigated using grazing incidence x-ray diffraction, immunofluorescence, and atomic force microscopy techniques. Grazing incidence x-ray diffraction measurements showed the existence of a crystalline mixed phase of the two components within a range of compositions of cholesterol/ ceramide between 100: 0 and 67: 33. The mixed phase coexists with the ceramide crystalline phase in the range of compositions between 50: 50 and 30: 70; between 30: 70 and 0: 100 only the highly crystalline phase of ceramide was detected. The latter was determined and modeled. Immunolabeling was performed with an antibody specific to the cholesterol monohydrate crystalline arrangement. The antibody recognizes crystalline cholesterol monolayers, but does not interact with crystalline ceramide. Immunofluorescence and atomic force microscopy data show that in uncompressed ceramide monolayers, the highly crystalline phase coexists with a disordered loosely packed phase. In contrast, no disordered phase coexists with the new crystalline mixed phase. We conclude that the new mixed phase represents a stable homogeneous arrangement of cholesterol with ceramide. As ceramide incorporates the lipid backbone common to all sphingolipids, this arrangement may be relevant to the understanding of the molecular organization of lipid rafts.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBiophysical Journal
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)3381-3391
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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