Cholesterol Levels and Activity of Membrane Bound Proteins: Characterization by Thermal and Electrochemical Methods


The long-term goal of this investigation is to study the effects of increased cholesterol levels on the molecular activity of membrane-bound enzymes such as nitric oxide synthase, that are critical in the functioning of the cardiovascular system. In this particular investigation, we used differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dielectric thermal analysis (DETA) to study the effect of added cholesterol on melting/recrystallization and dielectric behavior, respectively, of phosphatidylcholine (PC) bilayered thin films. We also used electrochemical methods to investigate the effect of added cholesterol on the redox behavior of the oxygenase domain of nitric oxide synthase as a probe embedded in the PC films. The results show that added cholesterol in the PC films seems to depress the molecular dynamics as indicated by lowered current responses in the presence of cholesterol as well as a slight increase of the transition temperature in the overall two-phase regime behavior observed in PC–cholesterol films. These results are rationalized in the context of the general DSC and DETA behaviors of the PC–chol films

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