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Permeability of peroxidized lipid membranes investigated by molecular dynamics simulations

 STSM by Lea Rems, PhD Student

Period of mission: from 28/02/2015 to 27/05/2015

Home institution: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Host institution: Université de Lorraine, SRSMC, UMR 7565, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France

Lipid peroxidation is a process characterized by modification of lipid fatty acid chains, mediated by reactive oxygen species. Consequently, peroxidized lipid membranes have altered properties, including increased permeability to various molecules (Runas and Malmstadt, Soft Matter 11:499–505, 2015). Lipid peroxidation takes place also during membrane electroporation (Gabriel and Teissié, Eur J Biochem 228:710–718, 1995), and could therefore contribute to the experimentally observed long-lived permeability of cell membranes as a complementary or even alternative mechanism to pore formation. The aim of this STSM project was to quantify the permeability of bilayers formed by 1,2-dilinoleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and various contents of its peroxidized derivatives (Garrec et al., J Phys Chem Lett 5:1653–1658, 2014), to water, sodium, and chloride ions, using molecular dynamics simulations. In order to calculate membrane permeability, we calculated the profiles of the potential of mean force for investigated species along the axis perpendicular to the membrane surface using the recently developed unified free energy dynamics method (Chen et al., J Chem Phys 137:024102, 2012). Our results demonstrate that the permeability to water and ions indeed increases with increasing number of peroxidized lipid species in the bilayer – for ions even up to several orders of magnitude. Similar ratio of increase is expected for membrane conductivity, as the latter is roughly proportional to ion permeability (Vorobyov et al. Biophys J 106:586–597, 2014). Based on this evidence we can conclude that lipid peroxidation should be considered as additional mechanism of increased membrane permeability to water and ions in membrane electroporation.


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