Three kinds of liposomes prepared from phosphatidylcholine (PC), azolectin, and azolectin-containing membrane proteins of the canine erythrocytes were used as models for olfactory cells. To explore properties of the adsorption sites of odorants, membrane fluidity changes in response to various odorants were measured with various fluorescence dyes which monitor the fluidity at different depths and different regions of the membranes. (a) Application of various odorants changed the membrane fluidity of azolectin liposomes. The patterns of membrane fluidity changes in response to odorants having a similar odor were similar to each other and those in response to odorants having different odors were different from each other. These results suggested that odorants having a similar odor are adsorbed on a similar site and odorants having different odors are adsorbed on different sites. (b) Such variation of the pattern was not seen in liposomes of a simple composition (PC liposome). (c) In the proteoliposomes whose composition was more complex than that of azolectin liposomes, the patterns of membrane fluidity changes varied among odorants having a similar odor. It was concluded that liposomes of complex membrane composition have the variety of adsorption sites for odorants.
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