Amphidinol 3 (AM3), a polyhydroxy-polyene metabolite from the dinoflagellate Amphidinium klebsii, possesses potent antifungal activity. AM3 is known to interact directly with membrane sterols and permeabilize membranes by forming pores. Because AM3 binds to sterols such as cholesterol and ergosterol, it can be assumed that AM3 has some impact on lipid rafts, which are membrane domains rich in sphingolipids and cholesterol. Hence, we first examined the effect of AM3 on phase-separated liposomes, in which raft-like ordered and non-raft-like disordered domains are segregated. Consequently, AM3 disrupted the phase separation at 22 μM, as in the case of methyl-β-cyclodextrin, a well-known raft-disrupter that extracts sterol from membranes. The surface plasmon resonance measurements and dye leakage assays show that AM3 preferentially recognizes cholesterol in the disordered membrane, which may reflect a weaker lipid-cholesterol interaction in disordered membrane than in ordered membrane. Finally, to gain insight into the AM3-induced coalescence of membrane phases, we measured membrane fluidity using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, demonstrating that AM3 significantly increases the order of disordered phase. Together, AM3 preferentially binds to the disordered phase rather than the ordered phase, and enhances the order of the disordered phase, consequently blending the separated phases.
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