The yeast sterol auxotroph GL-7, which grows well on ergosterol and cholesterol, was used to study the ability of cholesteryl-(2′-hydroxy)-ethyl ether to substitute for cholesterol. In this compound the 3j3-hydroxyl group of cholesterol is replaced by ethylene glycol and the resulting ether still retains the amphiphilic character of cholesterol. Cholesteryl-(2Lhydroxy)-ethyl ether was found to support the growth of GL-7 as effectively as cholesterol. Crystal violet permeability and membrane order parameter determined using a spin label were similar for cells grown on these sterols. The ability of such ethylene glycol derivatives to substitute for cholesterol in both artificial and natural membranes should help in designing suitable spacers through which molecules can be linked to cholesterol without affecting the normal function of cholesterol in membranes. This in turn should prove useful in studies with surface-modified liposomes.
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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