The extent of trans-gauche isomerization at the 4 and 4' positions of the acyl chains of fully hydrated 4,4,4',4'-d4 1,2-dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine (4-d4 DPPE) bilayers was quantitatively evaluated from the infrared (IR) intensity of the CD2 rocking modes. About 20% gauche conformers were observed at 72 degrees C (above Tm), while at 23 degrees C, well below Tm, about 4% were noted. The order parameter SC-D was determined from 2H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) quadrupolar splittings. SC-D is the product of a segmental order parameter (S gamma), which depends on conformational order, and a chain order parameter (S alpha) which depends on slower motions such as chain wobble. The IR-determined percentage of gauche forms was converted into a segmental order parameter and factored out of the measured value for SC-D to yield an estimate of S alpha = 0.59 for L alpha phase DPPE. A comparison with S alpha for 1,2-dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) suggests that increased wobble is responsible for enhanced motional averaging of the quadrupolar splittings in the latter at a similar reduced temperature. The extent of conformational disordering [at the 4(4') position] is essentially unchanged between the two molecules. The current study demonstrates the advantage of integrating quantitative IR with 2H NMR data, for elucidation of the contributions of the individual motions that average the NMR quadrupolar splittings.
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