Effect of calcium ions on the thermotropic behaviour of neutral and anionic glycosphingolipids

Bruno Maggio, J. M. Sturtevant, R. K. Yu

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34 Scopus citations


In the concentration range of 10-5 to 10-1 M Ca2+ modulates the thermotropic properties of several neutral and anionic glycosphingolipids (galactosylceramide, asialo-GM1, sulfatide, GM1, GD1a, GT1b) and of their mixtures with dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine. The transition temperature of gangliosides is not appreciably changed while the transition enthalpy increases by 20% in the presence of Ca2+. The more marked effect of Ca2+ is on the thermotropic behavior of systems containing sulfatide. Increasing concentrations of Ca2+ between 10-5 and 10-3 M (up to a molar ratio of Ca2+/sulfatide 1:2) induce a progressive increase of both the transition temperature and enthalpy. Further increases up to 10-1 M Ca2+ induce a new phase transition at a lower temperature. No evidence is found for induction of phase separation of pure glycosphingolipid-Ca2+ domains in mixtures of any of the glycosphingolipids with dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine. The modification of the phase behavior of anionic glycosphingolipids by Ca2+ does not involve detectable variations of the intermolecular packing but is accompanied by marked modifications of the dipolar properties of the polar head group region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 23 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium ion modulation
  • Galactocerebroside
  • Ganglioside
  • Glycosphingolipid
  • Phase transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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