The distribution of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin (SM) between the solubilized (micellar) and non-solubilized (lamellar) fractions arising from bilayers composed of PC and SM, with or without cholesterol (Chol) has been measured under conditions of partial, incomplete solubilization by Triton X-100. Quantitation is achieved by 31P-NMR determination of the composition of mixed micelles in the range of bilayer-micelle coexistence. We find that the solubilized fraction of bilayers consisting of binary mixtures of PC and SM is rich in SM, as expected from previous data on solubilization of pure PC and pure SM liposomes. In contrast, after partial solubilization of ternary mixtures of PC, SM and Chol, the solubilized fraction becomes SM-poor, as observed in the partial solubilization of biomembranes.
- Detergent-resistant membranes
- Membrane solubilization
- Sphingolipid-sterol complexes