The binding of pig brain acetylcholinesterase to artificial phospholipid membranes was investigated at different temperatures. Calculation of the thermodynamic parameters revealed a small negative enthalpy change, but a large negative change in the free energy and a large positive change in the entropy on binding. The large entropy change might be interpreted as being responsible for forming the enzyme-membrane complex and was indicative of hydrophobic interactions between lipid and protein. This conclusion would also favour the hypothesis that the enzyme was an integral protein. Further support for this theory was provided by the study of acetylcholinesterase binding to liposomes containing the phospholipid 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine. Lowering the temperature below the transition temperature or incorporating cholesterol into the liposomes decreased enzyme binding. Both factors could be interpreted as decreasing the fluidity of the hydrocarbon side chains of the phospholipids, causing an increase in bilayer thickness due to closer packing of side chains. This membrane condensation would certainly not favour the binding of integral protein molecules.

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