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Digitonin is a nonionic saponin steroid derived from the plant
Digitalis purpurea. It is useful for creating Digitonin-cholesterol complexes which form when Digitonin disrupts the cell membrane and binds with cholesterol in a nearly 1:1 stoichiometric ratio. When precipitated from ethanolic solutions, these complexes form flat lamellar sheets. Digitonin’s cholesterol displacing properties have been used in newer applications to quantify the rate of lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP), a new technique developed to bypass traditional cell death pathways. Digitonin permeabilizes plasma membranes but leaves lysosomal membranes intact, allowing for a quantifiable measurement of lysosomal hydrolases and comparison to normal cellular enzyme activity. Digitonin has been shown to induce hemolysis in red blood cells.
Digitonin at lower concentrations (approximately 25 μg/ml), allows the plasma membrane to be solubilized with very little effect on intracellular membranes because of its lower cholesterol content. Using Digitonin at this concentration for the extraction of cytosolic proteins does not dramatically impact these organelle membranes. It has also been shown not to significantly affect the structure of Ca2+-sequestering organelles, like the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. The organelles of these Digitonin-treated cells can be extracted via centrifuge. This permeabilization is more selective with regards to the plasma membrane of mammalian culture cells than Triton X-100.
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY GRADE
MW: 1229.31 g/mol
Handling/Storage: Store desiccated at -20°C. Hygroscopic.
PubChem Chemical ID: