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Molecular dynamics simulation of archaeal lipid membranes

STSM by Andraž Polak, PhD student

Period of mission: from 07/01/2013 to 01/02/2013

Home institution: University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Host institution: University of Lorraine, Nancy, France

The aim of current research is to investigate a novel delivery system for various biologically active substances by encapsulating them in artificial liposomes made of archaeal lipids, delivering the liposomes into cells and then controlling the substance release into the cytosol by electroporation. Compared to simple phosphatidylcholine lipids, archaeal lipids have a special head-group formed of sugar moieties, but also methyl branches in the lipid tails and ether linkages instead of ester linkages between the head group and the carbonyl region. During this STSM, we have first studied the response of DPPC, DPhPC-ester and DPhPC-ether based lipid bilayers to applied electric fields. We have first characterized the dipole potential and the capacitance of each bilayer. Then, comparing between lipids with acyl chains (DPPC) and methyl branched chains (DPhPC), and between lipids with ether and ester linkages, we find that in both cases the electroporation threshold differs substantially. Following this, we performed similar studies of the more complex membranes composed of archaeal lipids from Aeropyrum pernix and DPPC lipids that are simultaneously under study experimentally at our home institution, with the aim of revealing (1) how the electric field affects these novel membrane models; and (2) how the temperature affects their electroporation. The results of the simulations are being now analyzed, however preliminary results show again that archaeal lipids have a much higher electric field threshold for electroporation than simple phosphatidylcholine lipids.

This report is also featured in the May 2013 newsletter available here.

Publication(s) originating from this mission

Journal Journal of  Membrane Biology
Impact Factor (according to ISI Thomson) 2,174
Authors Andraz Polak, Daniel Bonhenry, Francois Dehez, Peter Kramar, Damijan Miklavcic, Mounir Tarek
Title On the Electroporation Thresholds of Lipid Bilayers: Molecular Dynamics Simulation Investigations
Year 2013
Issue 246
Pages 843-850
Status Published

 


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