Detergent solubilization of phosphatidylcholine bilayers in the fluid state: Influence of the acyl chain structure

Hasna Ahyayauch, Banafshe Larijani, Alicia Alonso, Félix M. Goñi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Seventeen different, chemically defined phosphatidylcholines, dispersed in aqueous medium in the form of large unilamellar vesicles, have been tested for solubilization by the non-ionic detergent Triton X-100. The temperatures (either 20 °C or 45 °C) were such that the bilayers were always in the liquid-disordered state. For each case, the solubilization parameters, Don (total detergent: lipid mole ratio producing the onset of solubilization) and D50 (total detergent: lipid mole ratio producing 50% solubilization), were determined under equilibrium conditions. Both parameters varied generally in parallel. When double bonds were introduced to the acyl chains, other factors remaining constant, solubilization became more difficult, i.e., more detergent was required. Cis-unsaturated phospholipids required more detergent than the corresponding trans-isomers. Increasing chain length in saturated phospholipids between C12 and C16 decreased moderately the detergent/lipid ratios causing solubilization. Acyl and alkyl phospholipids were equally susceptible to Triton X-100 solubilization. Lipid chain order, as measured by DPH fluorescence polarization, seemed to facilitate solubilization, perhaps because more ordered bilayers have a smaller capacity to accommodate detergent monomers without breaking down into lipid-detergent mixed micelles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (BMC 2002–00784) (A.A.), the University of the Basque Country (00042.310–13552/2001) (F.M.G.). H.A. was a post-doctoral scientist supported by the University of the Basque Country.


  • Detergent
  • Lipid order
  • Lipid phase
  • Membrane solubilization
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Detergent solubilization of phosphatidylcholine bilayers in the fluid state: Influence of the acyl chain structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this