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2H-NMR studies on ether lipid-rich bacterial membranes : deuterium order profile of Clostridium butyricum

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Palmitic acid specifically deuterated at different carbon atoms, has been incorporated biosynthetically into the membrane lipids of Clostridium butyricum. The lipids of this organism are rich in plasmalogens and their glycerol acetals and exhibit an unusual fatty acyl and alkenyl chain distribution with saturated chains mainly at the sn-2 position and unsaturated chains at the sn-1 position. The ordering of the deuterated hydrocarbon chains in whole cells was measured with deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance and was compared to the order profiles of isolated cell membranes and membranes formed from the total phospholipid extract. The shape of the order profiles was similar for all three membranes, but the absolute values of the order profiles in whole cells and isolated membranes were lower than those of the liposomal lipids. The order profiles have the same characteristic shape as those found for the lamellar liquid-crystalline phases of synthetic diacylphospholipids.

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