A fluorescence resonance energy transfer approach for monitoring protein-mediated glycolipid transfer between vesicle membranes

Peter Mattjus, Julian G. Molotkovsky, Janice M. Smaby, Rhoderick E Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


A lipid transfer protein, purified from bovine brain (23.7 kDa, 208 amino acids) and specific for glycolipids, has been used to develop a fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay (anthrylvinyl-labeled lipids; energy donors and perylenoyl-labeled lipids; energy acceptors) for monitoring the transfer of lipids between membranes. Small unilamellar vesicles composed of 1 mol% anthrylvinyl-galactosylceramide, 1.5 mol% perylenoyl-triglyceride, and 97.5% 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl phosphatidylcholine (POPC) served as donor membranes. Acceptor membranes were 100% POPC vesicles. Addition of glycolipid transfer protein to mixtures of donor and acceptor vesicles resulted in increasing emission intensity of anthrylvinyl-galactosylceramide and decreasing emission intensity of the nontransferable perylenoyl-triglyceride as a function of time. The behavior was consistent with anthrylvinyl- galactosylceramide being transferred from donor to acceptor vesicles. The anthrylvinyl and perylenoyl energy transfer pair offers advantages over frequently used energy transfer pairs such as NBD and rhodamine. The anthrylvinyl emission overlaps effectively the perylenoyl excitation spectrum and the fluorescence parameters of the anthrylvinyl fluorophore are nearly independent of the medium polarity. The nonpolar fluorophores are localized in the hydrophobic region of the bilayer thus producing minimal disturbance of the bilayer polar region. Our results indicate that this method is suitable for assay of lipid transfer proteins including mechanistic studies of transfer protein function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Academy of Finland, Åbo Akademi Foundation, Ella & Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, Magnus Ehrnrooth Foundation, Oskar Öflund Foundation, Hormel Foundation, a NAS/NRC COBASE Project Development Grant, and USPHS Grant GM45928.


  • Anthrylvinyl
  • Galactosylceramide
  • Glycosphingolipid
  • Lipid transfer protein
  • Perylenoyl
  • Phospholipid bilayers


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