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Monolayers of binary mixtures of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) and asialo-(GA1), disialo-(GD1b) and trisialo-(GT1b) gangliosides were used to determine the effect of ganglioside headgroup charge and geometry on its interactions with the neighboring zwitterionic lipid. Surface pressure versus molecular area isotherm measurements along with concurrent fluorescence microscopy of the monolayers at the air-water interface were complemented with atomic force microscopy imaging of monolayers deposited on solid substrates. Results were used to further develop a proposed geometric packing model that the complementary geometry of DPPC and monosialoganglioside GM1 headgroups affects their close molecular packing, inducing condensation of the layer at small mol % of ganglioside. For GA1, GD1b, and GT1b, a similar condensing effect, followed by a fluidizing effect is seen that varies with glycosphingolipid concentration, but results do not directly follow from geometric arguments because less DPPC is needed to condense ganglioside molecules with larger cross-sectional areas. The variations in critical packing mole ratios can be explained by global effects of headgroup charge and resultant dipole moments within the monolayer. Atomic force microscopy micrographs further support the model of ganglioside-induced DPPC condensation with condensed domains composed of a striped phase of condensed DPPC and DPPC/ganglioside geometrically packed complexes at low concentrations.



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