The enhanced permeability of flat lipid bilayer membranes at their gel to liquid-crystalline (LC) phase transition has been explored using coarse-grained molecular dynamics. The phase transition temperature, Tm, is deduced by monitoring the area per lipid, the lipid lateral diffusion constant, and the lipid-lipid radial distribution function. We find that a peak in the permeability coincides with the phase transition from the gel to LC state when lysolipid is present. This peak in permeability correlates with a jump in the area per lipid near the same temperature as well as increased fluctuations in the lipid bilayer free volume. At temperatures above Tm, the permeability is only slightly dependent on the amount of lysolipid present. The increased free volume due to the "missing tail" of the lysolipid is partially compensated for by a decrease in area per lipid as the amount of lysolipid increases. We also found that in the coarse-grained model a small amount (≤15 mol %) of lysolipid stabilizes the gel phase and increases the phase transition temperature, while a larger amount of lysolipid (20 mol %) reduces Tm back to that for pure DPPC, and bilayers consisting of ≥30 mol % lysolipid did not form a gel phase but still exhibited a peak in permeability near Tm for pure DPPC.
Diether and tetraether lipids are fundamental components of the archaeal cell membrane. Archaea adjust the degree of tetraether lipid cyclization in order to maintain functional membranes and cellular homeostasis when confronted with pH and/or thermal stress. Thus, the ability to adjust tetraether lipid composition likely represents a critical phenotypic trait that enabled archaeal diversification into environments characterized by extremes in pH and/or temperature. Here we assess the relationship between geochemical variation, core- and polar-isoprenoid glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraether (C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT, respectively) lipid composition, and archaeal 16S rRNA gene diversity and abundance in 27 geothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The composition and abundance of C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT lipids recovered from geothermal ecosystems were distinct from surrounding soils, indicating that they are synthesized endogenously. With the exception of GDGT-0 (no cyclopentyl rings), the abundances of individual C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT lipids were significantly correlated. The abundance of a number of individual tetraether lipids varied positively with the relative abundance of individual 16S rRNA gene sequences, most notably crenarchaeol in both the core and polar GDGT fraction and sequences closely affiliated with Candidatus Nitrosocaldus yellowstonii. This finding supports the proposal that crenarchaeol is a biomarker for nitrifying archaea. Variation in the degree of cyclization of C- and P-iGDGT lipids recovered from geothermal mats and sediments could best be explained by variation in spring pH, with lipids from acidic environments tending to have, on average, more internal cyclic rings than those from higher pH ecosystems. Likewise, variation in the phylogenetic composition of archaeal 16S rRNA genes could best be explained by spring pH. In turn, the phylogenetic similarity of archaeal 16S rRNA genes was significantly correlated with the similarity in the composition of C- and P-iGDGT lipids. Taken together, these data suggest that the ability to adjust the composition of GDGT lipid membranes played a central role in the diversification of archaea into or out of environments characterized by extremes of low pH and high temperature.
tetraether lipids; Nitrosocaldus; amoA; nitrification; crenarchaeol; community ecology; phylogenetic ecology
Glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) are core membrane lipids originally thought to be produced mainly by (hyper)thermophilic archaea. Environmental screening of low-temperature environments showed, however, the abundant presence of structurally diverse GDGTs from both bacterial and archaeal sources. In this study, we examined the occurrences and distribution of GDGTs in hot spring environments in Yellowstone National Park with high temperatures (47 to 83°C) and mostly neutral to alkaline pHs. GDGTs with 0 to 4 cyclopentane moieties were dominant in all samples and are likely derived from both (hyper)thermophilic Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota. GDGTs with 4 to 8 cyclopentane moieties, likely derived from the crenarchaeotal order Sulfolobales and the euryarchaeotal order Thermoplasmatales, are usually present in much lower abundance, consistent with the relatively high pH values of the hot springs. The relative abundances of cyclopentane-containing GDGTs did not correlate with in situ temperature and pH, suggesting that other environmental and possibly genetic factors play a role as well. Crenarchaeol, a biomarker thought to be specific for nonthermophilic group I Crenarchaeota, was also found in most hot springs, though in relatively low concentrations, i.e., <5% of total GDGTs. Its abundance did not correlate with temperature, as has been reported previously. Instead, the cooccurrence of relatively abundant nonisoprenoid GDGTs thought to be derived from soil bacteria suggests a predominantly allochthonous source for crenarchaeol in these hot spring environments. Finally, the distribution of bacterial branched GDGTs suggests that they may be derived from the geothermally heated soils surrounding the hot springs.
Archaeal viruses represent one of the least known territory of the viral universe and even less is known about their lipids. Based on the current knowledge, however, it seems that, as in other viruses, archaeal viral lipids are mostly incorporated into membranes that reside either as outer envelopes or membranes inside an icosahedral capsid. Mechanisms for the membrane acquisition seem to be similar to those of viruses infecting other host organisms. There are indications that also some proteins of archaeal viruses are lipid modified. Further studies on the characterization of lipids in archaeal viruses as well as on their role in virion assembly and infectivity require not only highly purified viral material but also, for example, constant evaluation of the adaptability of emerging technologies for their analysis. Biological membranes contain proteins and membranes of archaeal viruses are not an exception. Archaeal viruses as relatively simple systems can be used as excellent tools for studying the lipid protein interactions in archaeal membranes.
Bacterial cell wall is targeted by many antibiotics. Among them are lantibiotics, which realize their function via interaction with plasma membrane lipid-II molecule — a chemically conserved part of the cell wall synthesis pathway. To investigate structural and dynamic properties of this molecule, we have performed a series of nearly microsecond-long molecular dynamics simulations of lipid-II and some of its analogs in zwitterionic single component and charged mixed simulated phospholipid bilayers (the reference and the mimic of the bacterial plasma membrane, respectively). Extensive analysis revealed that lipid-II forms a unique “amphiphilic pattern” exclusively on the surface of the simulated bacterial membrane (and not in the reference one). We hypothesize that many lantibiotics exploit the conserved features of lipid-II along with characteristic modulation of the bacterial membrane as the “landing site”. This putative recognition mechanism opens new opportunities for studies on lantibiotics action and design of novel armament against resistant bacterial strains.
Lipid bilayer membranes found in nature are heterogeneous mixtures of lipids and proteins. Model systems, such as supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) are often employed to simplify experimental systems while mimicking the properties of natural lipid bilayers. Here we demonstrate a new method to form SLB arrays by first forming spherical supported lipid bilayers (SSLBs) on sub-micron-diameter SiO2 beads. The SSLBs are then arrayed into microwells using a simple physical assembly method that requires no chemical modification of the substrate, nor modification of the lipid membrane with recognition moieties. The resulting arrays have sub-micron SSLBs with 3 μm periodicity where > 75 % of the microwells are occupied by an individual SSLB. Because the arrays have high density, fluorescence from > 1000 discrete SSLBs can be acquired with a single image capture. We show that 2-component random arrays can be formed and we also use the arrays to determine the equilibrium dissociation constant for cholera toxin binding to ganglioside GM1. SSLB arrays are robust and are stable for at least one week in buffer.
Supported lipid bilayer; membrane microarray; membrane curvature; silica beads; cholera toxin; ganglioside GM1
Cold-adaptation strategies have been studied in multiple psychrophilic organisms, especially for psychrophilic enzymes. Decreased enzyme activity caused by low temperatures as well as a higher viscosity of the aqueous environment require certain adaptations to the metabolic machinery of the cell. In addition to this, low temperature has deleterious effects on the lipid bilayer of bacterial membranes and therefore might also affect the embedded membrane proteins. Little is known about the adaptation of membrane proteins to stresses of the cold. In this study we investigate a set of 66 membrane proteins from the core genome of the bacterial family Vibrionaceae to identify general characteristics that discern psychrophilic and mesophilic membrane proteins. Bioinformatical and statistical methods were used to analyze the alignments of the three temperature groups mesophilic, intermediate and psychrophilic. Surprisingly, our results show little or no adaptation to low temperature for those parts of the proteins that are predicted to be inside the membrane. However, changes in amino acid composition and hydrophobicity are found for complete sequences and sequence parts outside the lipid bilayer. Among others, the results presented here indicate a preference for helix-breaking and destabilizing amino acids Ile, Asp and Thr and an avoidance of the helix-forming amino acid Ala in the amino acid composition of psychrophilic membrane proteins. Furthermore, we identified a lower overall hydrophobicity of psychrophilic membrane proteins in comparison to their mesophilic homologs. These results support the stability-flexibility hypothesis and link the cold-adaptation strategies of membrane proteins to those of loop regions of psychrophilic enzymes.
Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) was used in the analysis of bacterial respiratory quinone (RQ), bacterial phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), and archaeal phospholipid ether lipid (PLEL) from anaerobically digested sludge. Bacterial RQ were determined using ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC). Determination of bacterial PLFA and archaeal PLEL was simultaneously performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The effects of pressure, temperature, and modifier concentration on the total amounts of RQ, PLFA, and PLEL were investigated by 23 experiments with five settings chosen for each variable. The optimal extraction conditions that were obtained through a multiple-response optimization included a pressure of 23.6 MPa, temperature of 77.6 °C, and 10.6% (v/v) of methanol as the modifier. Thirty nine components of microbial lipid biomarkers were identified in the anaerobically digested sludge. Overall, the SFE method proved to be more effective, rapid, and quantitative for simultaneously extracting bacterial and archaeal lipid biomarkers, compared to conventional organic solvent extraction. This work shows the potential application of SFE as a routine method for the comprehensive analysis of microbial community structures in environmental assessments using the lipid biomarkers profile.
anaerobically digested sludge; multiple response optimization; phospholipid fatty acid; phospholipid ether lipid; respiratory quinone; supercritical fluid extraction
Hundreds of different lipid species are present in eukaryotic cell membranes. Some of them aggregate with specific membrane proteins to form specialized domains that concentrate and control cellular trafficking and signaling events.
Cell membranes are composed of a lipid bilayer, containing proteins that span the bilayer and/or interact with the lipids on either side of the two leaflets. Although recent advances in lipid analytics show that membranes in eukaryotic cells contain hundreds of different lipid species, the function of this lipid diversity remains enigmatic. The basic structure of cell membranes is the lipid bilayer, composed of two apposing leaflets, forming a two-dimensional liquid with fascinating properties designed to perform the functions cells require. To coordinate these functions, the bilayer has evolved the propensity to segregate its constituents laterally. This capability is based on dynamic liquid–liquid immiscibility and underlies the raft concept of membrane subcompartmentalization. This principle combines the potential for sphingolipid-cholesterol self-assembly with protein specificity to focus and regulate membrane bioactivity. Here we will review the emerging principles of membrane architecture with special emphasis on lipid organization and domain formation.
The distribution of membrane lipids of 17 different strains representing 13 species of subdivisions 1 and 3 of the phylum Acidobacteria, a highly diverse phylum of the Bacteria, were examined by hydrolysis and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (MS) and by high-performance liquid chromatography-MS of intact polar lipids. Upon both acid and base hydrolyses of total cell material, the uncommon membrane-spanning lipid 13,16-dimethyl octacosanedioic acid (iso-diabolic acid) was released in substantial amounts (22 to 43% of the total fatty acids) from all of the acidobacteria studied. This lipid has previously been encountered only in thermophilic Thermoanaerobacter species but bears a structural resemblance to the alkyl chains of bacterial glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) that occur ubiquitously in peat and soil and are suspected to be produced by acidobacteria. As reported previously, most species also contained iso-C15 and C16:1ω7C as major fatty acids but the presence of iso-diabolic acid was unnoticed in previous studies, most probably because the complex lipid that contained this moiety was not extractable from the cells; it could only be released by hydrolysis. Direct analysis of intact polar lipids in the Bligh-Dyer extract of three acidobacterial strains, indeed, did not reveal any membrane-spanning lipids containing iso-diabolic acid. In 3 of the 17 strains, ether-bound iso-diabolic acid was detected after hydrolysis of the cells, including one branched GDGT containing iso-diabolic acid-derived alkyl chains. Since the GDGT distribution in soils is much more complex, branched GDGTs in soil likely also originate from other (acido)bacteria capable of biosynthesizing these components.
Glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) are core membrane lipids of the Crenarchaeota. The structurally unusual GDGT crenarchaeol has been proposed as a taxonomically specific biomarker for the marine planktonic group I archaea. It is found ubiquitously in the marine water column and in sediments. In this work, samples of microbial community biomass were obtained from several alkaline and neutral-pH hot springs in Nevada, United States. Lipid extracts of these samples were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Each sample contained GDGTs, and among these compounds was crenarchaeol. The distribution of archaeal lipids in Nevada hot springs did not appear to correlate with temperature, as has been observed in the marine environment. Instead, a significant correlation with the concentration of bicarbonate was observed. Archaeal DNA was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. All samples contained 16S rRNA gene sequences which were more strongly related to thermophilic crenarchaeota than to Cenarchaeum symbiosum, a marine nonthermophilic crenarchaeon. The occurrence of crenarchaeol in environments containing sequences affiliated with thermophilic crenarchaeota suggests a wide phenotypic distribution of this compound. The results also indicate that crenarchaeol can no longer be considered an exclusive biomarker for marine species.
As a basis for physicochemical studies on the membranes of the strictly anaerobic bacteria Veillonella parvula, Anaerovibrio lipolytica, and Megasphaera elsdenii, the fatty acyl and alk-1-enyl moieties on the phosphoglycerides of these organism were characterized. Uncommon is the high proportion of a heptadecenoic acyl and alk-1-enyl moiety in these three lactate-fermenting bacteria. In contrast to V. parvula and A. lipolytica, M. elsdenii contains high amounts of branched-chain acyl and alk-1-enyl moieties. Freeze-etching electron microscopy showed that the lipids of the plasma membranes of V. parvula and A. lipolytica go from the liquid crystalline to the gel state upon lowering of the temperature, indicating that the membrane lipids are predominantly in the fluid state. No lipid-protein segregation could be detected in the plasma membrane of M. elsdenii. This can be explained by the abundance of branched-chain fatty acyl and alk-1-enyl residues in the membranes of this organism which may prevent lipid-protein segregation during the lipid-phase transition.
The temperature limits of growth of a number of yeast species were examined, and on this basis the organisms were classified into different thermal categories. The following species were examined: Leucosporidium frigidum and Leucosporidium nivalis, psychrophilic, temperature limits of growth, -2 to 20 degrees C; Canadian lipolytica mesophilic, temperature limits of growth, 5 to 35 degrees Candida parapsilosis and Saccharomyces telluris, thermotolerant, temperature limits of growth, 8 to 42 degrees C; Torulopsis bovina and Candida slooffi, thermophilic, temperature limits of growth, 25 to 45 degrees C and 28 to 45 degrees C, respectively. The membrane lipid and cytochrome composition of mitochrondrial fractions isolated from these yeasts were compared. There was a direct correlation between the growth temperature and the degree of membrane of lipid unsaturation; the lower the temperature, the greater the degree of lipid unsaturation. The membrane lipid composition of the thermophilic yeasts were distinguished by the high percentage (30 to 40%) of saturated fatty acid, as compared with the mesophilic and psychrophilic yeasts. The latter contained approximately 90% unsaturated fatty acid, 55% of which was linolenic acid, C alpha-18:3. Changes in phospholipid composition in relation to temperature were also noted. The respiratory-deficient thermophile, C. slooffi, was characterized by the absence of cardiolipin (sensitivity 0.1 mug of phosphorus) and cytochrome aa3. The absence of conventional mitochondrial structures in this thermophilic microorganism is tentatively suggested although low concentrations of cytochromes b, c, and c1 were detected by low-temperature spectroscopy. On the other hand, the respiratory-competent thermophile, T. bovina, was characterized by a high cardiolipin (25% of the total phospholipid) and cytochrome aa3 content (1 nmol/mg of mitochrondrial protein). Low-temperature spectra showed the presence of one b-type cytochrome in the thermophilic yeasts, two b-type cytochromes in the mesophilic yeasts, and three b-type cytochromes in the psychrophilic yeasts. It was concluded that a knowledge of the properties of the biological membrane is fundamental to an understanding of the ability of a microorganism to grow and reproduce in different temperature environments.
Archaeal membrane lipids consist of branched, saturated hydrocarbons distinct from those found in bacteria and eukaryotes. Digeranylgeranylglycerophospholipid reductase (DGGR) catalyzes the hydrogenation process that converts unsaturated 2,3-di-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate to saturated 2,3-di-O-phytanylglyceryl phosphate as a critical step in the biosynthesis of archaeal membrane lipids. The saturation of hydrocarbon chains confers the ability to resist hydrolysis and oxidation and helps archaea withstand extreme conditions. DGGR is a member of the geranylgeranyl reductase (GGR) family that is also widely distributed in bacteria and plants, where the family members are involved in the biosynthesis of photosynthetic pigments. We have determined the crystal structure of DGGR from the thermophilic heterotrophic archaea Thermoplasma acidophilum at 1.6 Å resolution, in complex with FAD and a bacterial lipid. The DGGR structure can be assigned to the well-studied, para-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase (PHBH) SCOP superfamily of flavoproteins that include many aromatic hydroxylases and other enzymes with diverse functions. In the DGGR complex, FAD adopts the IN conformation (closed) previously observed in other PHBH flavoproteins. DGGR contains a large substrate-binding site that extends across the entire ligand-binding domain. Electron density corresponding to a bacterial lipid was found within this cavity. The cavity consists of a large opening that tapers down to two narrow curved tunnels that closely mimic the shape of the preferred substrate. We identified a sequence motif, PxxYxWxFP, that defines a specificity pocket in the structure and precisely aligns the double bond of the geranyl group with respect to the FAD cofactor, thus providing a structural basis for the substrate specificity of GGRs. DGGR is likely to share a common mechanism with other PHBH enzymes in which FAD switches between two conformations that correspond to the reductive and oxidative half cycles. The structure provides evidence that substrate binding likely involves conformational changes, which are coupled to the two conformational states of the FAD.
Lipids are essential components of a living organism as energy source but also as constituent of the membrane lipid bilayer. In addition fatty acid (FA) derivatives interact with many signaling pathways. FAs have amphipathic properties and therefore require being associated to protein for both transport and intracellular trafficking. Here we will focus on several FA handling proteins, among which the fatty acid translocase/CD36 (FAT/CD36), members of fatty acid transport proteins (FATPs), and lipid chaperones fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs). A decade of extensive studies has helped decipher the mechanism of action of these proteins in peripheral tissue with high lipid metabolism. However, considerably less information is available regarding their role in the brain, despite the high lipid content of this tissue. This review will primarily focus on the recent studies that have highlighted the crucial role of lipid handling proteins in brain FA transport, neuronal differentiation and development, cognitive processes and brain diseases. Finally a special focus will be made on the recent studies that have revealed the role of FAT/CD36 in brain lipid sensing and nervous control of energy balance.
fatty acids; brain; FATP; FABP; CD36; GPR40; neuronal differentiation; cognition
The gram-negative gliding bacterium Cytophaga johnsonae contains not only large quantities of unusual sulfonolipids but also, as we report here, a second class of unusual lipids. These lipids were detected and quantified by two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography of lipids from cells grown in the presence of [14C]acetate and shown by chemical studies to be alpha-N-(3-fatty acyloxy fatty acyl)ornithines. Like the sulfonolipids, these ornithine lipids were localized in the outer membrane (whereas phosphatidylethanolamine was the predominant lipid of the inner membrane). In a sulfonolipid-deficient mutant, the missing lipid was replaced, specifically, by an increased amount of ornithine lipid. Cells grown in liquid media contained predominantly ornithine lipids with nonhydroxylated residues in the O-fatty acyl position. In contrast, surface-grown cells contained a high proportion of ornithine lipids in which the O-fatty acyl group was 3-hydroxylated. The sulfonolipids and ornithine lipids are apparently coregulated in the sense that, regardless of perturbations caused by mutation or growth conditions, their total amounts remain constant at 40% of total cell lipid.
The ubiquity of mechanosensitive (MS) channels triggered a search for
their functional homologs in Archaea. Archaeal MS channels were found
to share a common ancestral origin with bacterial MS channels of large
and small conductance, and sequence homology with several proteins
that most likely function as MS ion channels in prokaryotic and
eukaryotic cell-walled organisms. Although bacterial and archaeal MS
channels differ in conductive and mechanosensitive properties, they
share similar gating mechanisms triggered by mechanical force
transmitted via the lipid bilayer. In this review, we suggest that MS
channels of Archaea can bridge the evolutionary gap between bacterial
and eukaryotic MS channels, and that MS channels of Bacteria, Archaea
and cell-walled Eukarya may serve similar physiological functions and
may have evolved to protect the fragile cellular membranes in these
organisms from excessive dilation and rupture upon osmotic challenge.
Arabidopsis; mechanosensitivity; phylogeny; yeast
Given the complexity of cell membranes, there is a need for an analytical technique which can explore the physical properties of lipid membranes in a high-throughput and noninvasive manner. A simplified sum-frequency vibrational imaging (SFVI) setup has been developed and characterized using asymmetrically prepared 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC):1,2-distearoyl(d70)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC-d70) lipid bilayer arrays. Exploiting the vibrational selectivity and inherent symmetry constraints of sum-frequency generation, SFVI was successfully used to probe the transition temperature of a patterned DSPC:DSPC-d70 lipid bilayer array. SFVI was also used to study the phase behavior in a multi-component micropatterned lipid bilayer array (MLBA) prepared using three different binary lipid mixtures (1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC):DSPC, DOPC:1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) and 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC:DSPC). This paper demonstrates that a simplified SFVI setup provides the necessary chemical imaging capabilities with the spatial resolution, sensitivity and field of view required for exploring lipid membrane properties in a high-throughput array based assay.
Dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide (DODAB) is a double chain cationic lipid, which assembles as bilayer structures in aqueous solution. The precise structures formed depend on, e.g., lipid concentration and temperature. We here combine differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS) to investigate the thermal and structural behavior of up to 120 mM DODAB in water within the temperature range 1–70°C. Below 1 mM, this system is dominated by unilamellar vesicles (ULVs). Between 1 and 65 mM, ULVs and multilamellar structures (MLSs) co-exist, while above 65 mM, the MLSs are the preferred structure. Depending on temperature, DSC and X-ray data show that the vesicles can be either in the subgel (SG), gel, or liquid crystalline (LC) state, while the MLSs (with lattice distance d = 36.7 Å) consist of interdigitated lamellae in the SG state, and ULVs in the LC state (no Bragg peak). Critical temperatures related to the thermal transitions of these bilayer structures obtained in the heating and cooling modes are reported, together with the corresponding transition enthalpies.
MVL2 virus was purified from culture supernatants of infected Acholeplasma laidlawii cells by differential centrifugation, followed by velocity centrifugation in sucrose gradients. The purified virus contained 0.08 to 0.1 mumol of lipid phosphorous per ml of viral protein. Thin-layer chromatography of viral lipids revealed the presence of phospho-, glyco-, and phosphoglycolipids identical with those found in the host cell membrane, but the relative amount of phosphatidylglycerol was much lower than that in the virus. The fatty acid composition of lipids incorporated into the virus included lipids synthesized before and after infection. The freedom of motion of spin-labeled fatty acids in MVL2 depended markedly on temperature and on the position of the nitroxide group on the hydrocarbon chain of the probe, suggesting that the local environment of the probe has the properties of a lipid bilayer. Nevertheless, the lipid hydrocarbon chains in MVL2 appear to be less mobile than those in membranes of the host cells. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of purified MVL2 revealed four major and about five minor polypeptide bands. None of the polypeptide bands gave a positive periodic acid-Schiff reaction. Lactoperoxidase-mediated iodination, followed by proteolytic digestion of intact MVL2 particles, revealed that at least two major polypeptides are localized on the external surface of the viral envelope.
Planar supported lipid bilayers (PSLBs) have been widely studied as biomembrane models and biosensor scaffolds. For technological applications, a major limitation of PSLBs composed of fluid lipids is that the bilayer structure is readily disrupted when exposed to chemical, mechanical, and thermal stresses. A number of asymmetric supported bilayer structures, such as the hybrid bilayer membrane (HBM) and the tethered bilayer lipid membrane (tBLM), have been created as an alternative to symmetric PSLBs. In both HBMs and tBLMs, the inner monolayer is covalently attached to the substrate while the outer monolayer is typically composed of a fluid lipid. Here we address if cross-linking polymerization of the lipids in the outer monolayer of an asymmetric supported bilayer can achieve the high degree of stability observed previously for symmetric PSLBs in which both monolayers are cross-linked [Ross, E. E., et al., Langmuir 2003, 19, 1752–1765]. To explore this issue, HBMs composed of an outer monolayer of a cross-linkable lipid, bis-Sorbylphosphatidylcholine (bis-SorbPC), and an inner SAM were prepared and characterized. Several experimental conditions were varied: vesicle fusion time, polymerization method, and polymerization time and temperature. Under most conditions, bis-SorbPC cross-linking stabilized the HBM such that its bilayer structure was largely preserved after drying; however these films invariably contained sub-micron scale defects that exposed the hydrophobic core of the HBM. The defects appear to be caused by desorption of low molecular weight oligomers when the film is removed from water, rinsed, and dried. In contrast, poly(bis-SorbPC) PSLBs prepared under similar conditions by Ross et al. were nearly defect free. This comparison shows that formation of a cross-linked network in the outer leaflet of an asymmetric supported bilayer is insufficient to prevent lipid desorption; inter-leaflet covalent linking appears to be necessary to create supported poly(lipid) assemblies that are impervious to repeated drying and rehydration. The difference in stability is attributed to inter-leaflet cross-linking between monolayers which can form in symmetric bis-SorbPC PSLBs.
poly(lipid); lipo-polymer; asymmetric supported bilayer; hybrid bilayer membrane; lipid polymerization; bis-SorbPC; self-assembled monolayer; SAM
The effects of cholesterol on membrane bending modulus KC, membrane thickness DHH, the partial and apparent areas of cholesterol and lipid, and the order parameter Sxray are shown to depend upon the number of saturated hydrocarbon chains in the lipid molecules. Particularly striking is the result that up to 40% cholesterol does not increase the bending modulus KC of membranes composed of phosphatidylcholine lipids with two cis monounsaturated chains, although it does have the expected stiffening effect on membranes composed of lipids with two saturated chains. The B fluctuational modulus in the smectic liquid crystal theory is obtained and used to discuss the interactions between bilayers. Our KC results motivate a theory of elastic moduli in the high cholesterol limit and they challenge the relevance of universality concepts. Although most of our results were obtained at 30 °C, additional data at other temperatures to allow consideration of a reduced temperature variable do not support universality for the effect of cholesterol on all lipid bilayers. If the concept of universality is to be valid, different numbers of saturated chains must be considered to create different universality classes. The above experimental results were obtained from analysis of x-ray scattering in the low angle and wide angle regions.
Membrane protein function is regulated by the host lipid bilayer composition. This regulation may depend on specific chemical interactions between proteins and individual molecules in the bilayer, as well as on non-specific interactions between proteins and the bilayer behaving as a physical entity with collective physical properties (e.g. thickness, intrinsic monolayer curvature or elastic moduli). Studies in physico-chemical model systems have demonstrated that changes in bilayer physical properties can regulate membrane protein function by altering the energetic cost of the bilayer deformation associated with a protein conformational change. This type of regulation is well characterized, and its mechanistic elucidation is an interdisciplinary field bordering on physics, chemistry and biology. Changes in lipid composition that alter bilayer physical properties (including cholesterol, polyunsaturated fatty acids, other lipid metabolites and amphiphiles) regulate a wide range of membrane proteins in a seemingly non-specific manner. The commonality of the changes in protein function suggests an underlying physical mechanism, and recent studies show that at least some of the changes are caused by altered bilayer physical properties. This advance is because of the introduction of new tools for studying lipid bilayer regulation of protein function. The present review provides an introduction to the regulation of membrane protein function by the bilayer physical properties. We further describe the use of gramicidin channels as molecular force probes for studying this mechanism, with a unique ability to discriminate between consequences of changes in monolayer curvature and bilayer elastic moduli.
hydrophobic coupling; lipid bilayer elasticity; gramicidin channels
Two-dimensional crystallization on lipid monolayers is a versatile tool to obtain structural information of proteins by electron microscopy. An inherent problem with this approach is to prepare samples in a way that preserves the crystalline order of the protein array and produces specimens that are sufficiently flat for high-resolution data collection at high tilt angles. As a test specimen to optimize the preparation of lipid monolayer crystals for electron microscopy imaging, we used the S-layer protein sbpA, a protein with potential for designing arrays of both biological and inorganic materials with engineered properties for a variety of nanotechnology applications. Sugar embedding is currently considered the best method to prepare two-dimensional crystals of membrane proteins reconstituted into lipid bilayers. We found that using a loop to transfer lipid monolayer crystals to an electron microscopy grid followed by embedding in trehalose and quick-freezing in liquid ethane also yielded the highest resolution images for sbpA lipid monolayer crystals. Using images of specimens prepared in this way we could calculate a projection map of sbpA at 7 Å resolution, one of the highest resolution projection structures obtained with lipid monolayer crystals to date.
electron crystallography; S-layer protein; lipid monolayers; sugar embedding
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are small cationic peptides that cross the cell membrane while carrying macromolecular cargoes. We use solid-state NMR to investigate the structure and lipid interaction of two cationic residues, Arg10 and Lys13, in the CPP penetratin. 13C chemical shifts indicate that Arg10 adopts a rigid β-strand conformation in the liquid-crystalline state of anionic lipid membranes. This behavior contrasts with all other residues observed so far in this peptide, which adopt a dynamic β-turn conformation with coil-like chemical shifts at physiological temperature. Low-temperature 13C-31P distances between the peptide and the lipid phosphates indicate that both the Arg10 guanidinium Cζ and the Lys13 Cε lie in close proximity to the lipid 31P (4.0 - 4.2 Å), proving the existence of charge-charge interaction for both Arg10 and Lys13 in the gel-phase membrane. However, since lysine substitution in CPPs are known to reduce their translocation ability, we propose that low temperature stabilizes both lysine and arginine interactions with the phosphates, whereas at high temperature the lysine-phosphate interaction is much weaker than the arginine-phosphate interaction. This is supported by the unusually high rigidity of the Arg10 sidechain and its β-strand conformation at high temperature. The latter is proposed to be important for ion pair formation by allowing close approach of the lipid headgroups to guanidinium sidechains. 19F and 13C spin diffusion experiments indicate that penetratin is oligomerized into β-sheets in gel-phase membranes. These solid-state NMR data indicate that guanidinium-phosphate interactions exist in penetratin, and guanidinium groups play a stronger structural role than ammonium groups in the lipid-assisted translocation of CPPs across liquid-crystalline cell membranes.
cell-penetrating peptide; lipid bilayer; guanidinium-phosphate interaction; 13C-31P REDOR; arginine; lysine