Phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphate (PIP2) is an important signaling molecule located on the inner leaflet of the cell membrane. In order to perform its various signaling functions, it is suggested that PIP2 must be able to form localized clusters. In this study, we have used LAURDAN generalized polarization function (GP) with unlabeled PIP2 and single point fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and brightness analysis of various BODIPY labeled PIP2 to determine the presence of clusters in the membrane of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) made of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) or a mixture of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC), sphingomyelin and cholesterol. We determined the number of freely diffusing fluorescent BODIPY molecules in the membrane and found that in GUVs containing various amounts of labeled PIP2, this number was significantly lower than in GUVs made with the control BODIPY labeled hexadecyl phosphatidylcholine (BODIPY-HPC). Also, we noted an increase in brightness of the labeled PIP2 particles with increasing labeled PIP2 molar fraction. Together with the observed change in LAURDAN GP with increasing molar fraction of unlabeled PIP2, these results demonstrate the presence of PIP2 enriched clusters that are smaller than the resolution limit of the fluorescent microscope. In addition, we report the presence of a hypsochromic shift of the fluorescence for the BODIPY labeled lipids that we attributed to clustering. This clustering result in a change in the partitioning of the lipids with the BODIPY labeled PIP2 lipids able to move between the liquid ordered and liquid disordered phase.
Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 2014, Vol 177, p. 51-63