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Do Glycerolipids Display Lateral Heterogeneity In The Thylakoid Membrane?

S. Duchêne, P. Siegenthaler
Published 2000 · Medicine, Chemistry

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The lateral heterogeneity of lipids in the thylakoid membrane has been questioned for over 20 yrs. It is generally believed that glycerolipids are asymmetrically distributed within the plane of the membrane. In the present investigation, we isolated several thylakoid membrane domains by using sonication followed by separation in an aqueous dextran-polyethylene glycol two-phase system. This technique, which avoids detergent treatments, allowed us to obtain stroma and grana lamellae vesicles as well as grana central core and grana margin vesicles from thylakoids. The relative distribution of the four lipid classes, i.e., monogalactosyldiacylglycerol, digalactosyldiacylglycerol, sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol, and phosphatidylglycerol, was found to be statistically identical in all four thylakoid fractions and in whole thylakoids. Similarly, the relative amount of fatty acids in each individual lipid and the eight main phosphatidylglycerol molecular species was identical in all thylakoid membrane fractions tested as well as in the intact thylakoid membrane. Based on presently available procedures for obtaining thylakoid subfractions that are unable to discriminate microdomains within the membrane, it is concluded that glycerolipids are evenly distributed within the plane of the thylakoid membrane. These data are discussed in terms of “bulk” and “specific” lipids.
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