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Date of Original Version



Medicinal Chemistry


Thermal and lyotropic phase behavior was studied by X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry for a diether phosphonolipid analog (DEPN-8) of the major lung surfactant glycerophospholipid dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC). DEPN-8 differs in an ether, rather than an ester, bond at the acyl chain-backbone linkage and a headgroup phosphonate (isosteric methylene substitution) versus phosphate constituent. Analysis of lamellar diffraction maxima demonstrated that at high relative humidity (98%) and temperatures below the liquid crystal phase transition (approximately 45 degrees C), DEPN-8 formed interdigitated bilayers with a characteristic periodicity of 41.9-46.5 A. At low humidity the gel phase DEPN-8 bilayers were characteristic of a normal L beta phase with a periodicity equivalent to DPPC (57-59 A). Above the liquid crystal thermal phase transition, bilayer spacing for both DEPN-8 and DPPC was 51-52 A, characteristic of the L alpha phase. Complete assessments of both lamellar and in-plane X-ray scattering used to construct electron density profiles and structure-factor plots for DEPN-8 defined more fully the interdigitated bilayer state at high humidity and low temperature. Compared to DPPC, it is energetically favorable for DEPN-8 to form interdigitated bilayers under conditions of excess water and low temperature. The flexible character of the ether bonds in DEPN-8 allows increased hydrophobic interactions between acyl chains, without generating a steric penalty from the increased packing density of the molecules. Additionally, the ether bond and the phosphonate moiety may allow for more energetically favorable interactions between the choline portion of the headgroup and water. The DEPN-8 ether linkage may also contribute to the improved adsorption and film respreading found previously for this phosphonolipid compared to DPPC.