Recently, developments in time-resolved spin-label electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy have contributed considerably to the study of biomembranes. Two different applications of electron spin echo spectroscopy of spin-labelled phospholipids are reviewed here: (1) the use of partially relaxed echo-detected ESR spectra to study the librational lipid-chain motions in the low-temperature phases of phospholipid bilayers; (2) the use of electron spin echo envelope modulation spectroscopy to determine the penetration of water into phospholipid membranes. Results are described for phosphatidylcholine bilayer membranes, with and without equimolar cholesterol, that are obtained with phosphatidylcholine spin probes site-specifically labelled throughout the sn-2 chain.
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