Browsing by Subject "Lipid membrane"

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  • Mobarak, Edouard; Javanainen, Matti; Kulig, Waldemar; Honigmann, Alf; Sezgin, Erdinc; Aho, Noora; Eggeling, Christian; Rog, Tomasz; Vattulainen, Ilpo (2018)
    Organic dye-tagged lipid analogs are essential for many fluorescence-based investigations of complex membrane structures, especially when using advanced microscopy approaches. However, lipid analogs may interfere with membrane structure and dynamics, and it is not obvious that the properties of lipid analogs would match those of non-labeled host lipids. In this work, we bridged atomistic simulations with super-resolution imaging experiments and biomimetic membranes to assess the performance of commonly used sphingomyelin-based lipid analogs. The objective was to compare, on equal footing, the relative strengths and weaknesses of acyl chain labeling, headgroup labeling, and labeling based on poly-ethyl-glycol (PEG) linkers in determining biomembrane properties. We observed that the most appropriate strategy to minimize dye-induced membrane perturbations and to allow consideration of Brownian-like diffusion in liquid-ordered membrane environments is to decouple the dye from a membrane by a PEG linker attached to a lipid headgroup. Yet, while the use of PEG linkers may sound a rational and even an obvious approach to explore membrane dynamics, the results also suggest that the dyes exploiting PEG linkers interfere with molecular interactions and their dynamics. Overall, the results highlight the great care needed when using fluorescent lipid analogs, in particular accurate controls.
  • Koivuniemi, Artturi; Fallarero, Adyary; Bunker, Alex (2019)
    The development of antimicrobial agents that target and selectively disrupt biofilms is a pressing issue since, so far, no antibiotics have been developed that achieve this effectively. Previous experimental work has found a promising set of antibacterial peptides: β2,2-amino acid derivatives, relatively small molecules with common structural elements composed of a polar head group and two non-polar hydrocarbon arms. In order to develop insight into possible mechanisms of action of these novel antibacterial agents, we have performed an in silico investigation of four leading β2,2-amino acid derivatives, interacting with models of both bacterial (target) and eukaryotic (host) membranes, using molecular dynamics simulation with a model with all-atom resolution. We found an unexpected result that could shed light on the mechanism of action of these antimicrobial agents: the molecules assume a conformation where one of the hydrophobic arms is directed downward into the membrane core while the other is directed upwards, out of the membrane and exposed above the position of the membrane headgroups; we dubbed this conformation the “can-can pose”. Intriguingly, the can-can pose was most closely linked to the choice of headgroup. Also, the compound previously found to be most effective against biofilms displayed the strongest extent of this behavior and, additionally, this behavior was more pronounced for this compound in the bacterial than in the eukaryotic membrane. We hypothesize that adopting the can-can pose could possibly disrupt the protective peptidoglycan macronet found on the exterior of the bacterial membrane.