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Self-segregation of myelin membrane lipids in model membranes

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Kahya,  Nicoletta
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kaiser,  Hermann-Josef
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Yurlova, L., Kahya, N., Aggarwal, S., Kaiser, H.-J., Chiantia, S., Bakhti, M., et al. (2011). Self-segregation of myelin membrane lipids in model membranes. Biophysical Journal, 101(11), 2713-2720.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-0AC0-B
Abstract
Rapid conduction of nerve impulses requires coating of axons by myelin sheaths, which are multilamellar, lipid-rich membranes produced by oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system. To act as an insulator, myelin has to form a stable and firm membrane structure. In this study, we have analyzed the biophysical properties of myelin membranes prepared from wild-type mice and from mouse mutants that are unable to form stable myelin. Using C-Laurdan and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we find that lipids are tightly organized and highly ordered in myelin isolated from wild-type mice, but not from shiverer and ceramide synthase 2 null mice. Furthermore, only myelin lipids from wild-type mice laterally segregate into physically distinct lipid phases in giant unilamellar vesicles in a process that requires very long chain glycosphingolipids. Taken together, our findings suggest that oligodendrocytes exploit the potential of lipids to self-segregate to generate a highly ordered membrane for electrical insulation of axons.