Organization of ganglioside GM1 in phosphatidylcholine bilayers

T. E. Thompson, M. Allietta, R. E. Brown, M. L. Johnson, T. W. Tillack

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Molecules of the ganglioside GM1 are randomly distributed in liquid-crystalline 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl phosphatidylcholine bilayers. This conclusion is based on a freeze-etch electron microscopic study using ferritin-conjugated cholera toxin and cholera toxin alone as ganglioside labels. The average number of GM1 molecules under a label is calculated by a novel method from the dependence of the fraction of bilayer area covered by the label on the mole fraction of GM1 in the bilayer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 25 1985
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Dr. John Heuser of Washington University for preparing samples with his liquid-helium freezing device. We also wish to acknowledge the advice and helpful criticisms of Dr. IstvMa Sughr. This study was supported by U.S. Public Health Service grants GM-23573 and GM-26234.


  • Cholera toxin
  • Electron microscopy
  • Freeze-etch
  • Ganglioside distribution
  • Phospholipid bilayer


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