Bilayer liposomes from a mixture of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) and dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DPPC:DPPE=8:2, molar ratio) or DPPC labeled with 14C-DPPC (DPPC:14C-DPPC) were bombarded with thermally activated tritium atoms. The tritiated liposomes were hydrolyzed by phospholipase C, and the tritium incorporation into different parts of the bilayer along its thickness was determined. The tritium flux attenuation coefficients were calculated for the headgroup (k1=0.176±0.032 Å−1) and acylglycerol residue (k2=0.046±0.004 Å−1) layers indicating a preferential attenuation of the tritium flux in the headgroup region and relative transparence of the membrane hydrophobic part. The finding is potentially important to apply tritium bombardment for investigation of spatial organization of transmembrane proteins in their native lipid environment.

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