The structural investigation of cellular membranes requires access to model systems where the molecular complexity is representative of the cellular environment and that allow for the exploitation of structural techniques. Neutron scattering, and in particular neutron diffraction can provide unique and detailed information on the structure of lipid membranes. However, deuterated samples are desirable to fully exploit this powerful method. Recently, the extraction of lipids from microorganisms grown in deuterated media was demonstrated to be both an attracting route to obtain complex lipid mixtures resembling the composition of natural membranes, and to producing deuterated molecules in a very convenient way. A full characterization of these deuterated extracts is hence pivotal for their use in building up model membrane systems. Here we report the structural characterization of lipid extracts obtained from Pichia pastoris by means of neutron diffraction measurements. In particular, we compare the structure of membranes extracted from yeast cells grown in a standard culture medium and in a corresponding deuterated culture medium. The results show that the different molecular composition of the deuterated and protiated lipid extracts induce different structural organization of the lipid membranes. In addition, we compare these membranes composed of extracted yeast lipids with stacked bilayers prepared from synthetic lipid mixtures. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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