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Journal: Chemistry and physics of lipids


Presence of sialic acid distinguishes gangliosides from other glycosphingolipids, helps maintain membrane structure and organization as well as acts as anchors for lectins, toxins and pathogens. The number and position of the sialic acid residues on gangliosides appear to influence the binding affinity and specificity of gangliosides. We have investigated the dependence of bicellar properties on sialic acids using Monosialo1 (GM1), Disialo1b (GD1b) and Trisialo1a (GT1a) gangliosides incorporated in phospholipid bicelles. TEM, AFM and DLS show that increasing numbers of sialic acid moieties per ganglioside results in an increase in bicelle size. DPH fluorescence anisotropy results suggest that with incorporation of gangliosides in bicelles the orientational order of the hydrocarbon chains increases. Fluorescence anisotropy was used to explore the effect of gangliosides on lateral phase separation in ganglioside enriched bicelles. GM1 and GT1a exhibited a low Tm melting domain (DMPC rich) and a high Tm melting domain (ganglioside rich). For GD1b containing bicelles, no significant phase separation was observed, suggesting a single homogeneous phase. Symmetric and antisymmetric stretching vibrational bands of methylene shift to a lower wave number, implying acyl chain order decreasing as GT1a≪GM1

Concepts: Cell membrane, Sialic acid, Wave, Glycoprotein, Ganglioside, Grammatical number, Cholera toxin, GM1


Bcl-2 family proteins are involved in cell homeostasis, where they regulate cell death. Some of these proteins are pro-apoptotic and others pro-survival. Moreover, many of them share a similar domain composition with several of the so-called BH domains, although some only have a BH3 domain. A C-terminal domain is present in all the multi-BH domain proteins and in some of the BH3-only ones. This C-terminal domain is hydrophobic or amphipathic, for which reason it was thought when they were discovered that they were membrane anchors. Although this is indeed one of their functions, it has since been observed that they may also serve as regulators of the function of some members of this family, such as Bax. They may also serve to recognize the target membrane of some of these proteins, which only after an apoptotic signal, are incorporated into a membrane. It has been shown that peptides that imitate the sequence of C-terminal domains can form pores and may serve as a model to design cytotoxic molecules.

Concepts: Protein, Protein structure, Apoptosis, Programmed cell death, Caspase, Bcl-2, BH3 interacting domain death agonist, Bcl-2-associated X protein


Eugenol and its related compounds are major active constituents of essential oils and have been extensively used as food flavoring agents with significant lipid peroxidation inhibition activity, highlighting the importance of understanding detailed molecular mechanisms behind their interactions with lipid bilayer. For this, we studied antioxidant activity of essential oils rich extract of Cinnamomum tamala leaves and molecular dynamics simulations of eugenol, isoeugenol, methyleugenol, acetyleugenol and eugenol oxide in POPC and PLPC lipid bilayers. All the compounds penetrated into bilayer however, isoeugenol showed highest affinity for the pure POPC and PLPC bilayers with lowest free energy profiles, formed more H-bonds with bilayer oxygen atoms and more pronounced changes in area per lipid and thickness of the bilayer, thus more efficient for scavenging radicals coming from outside as well as centrally located lipid peroxyl radicals. These molecular interactions rationalize the difference in inhibition activities of lipid peroxidation by eugenol and its related compounds.

Concepts: Oxygen, Antioxidant, Reactive oxygen species, Chemical bond, Lipid, Cinnamon, Lipid bilayer, Bay leaf


Aggregation of the protein α-Synuclein (αSyn) is of great interest due to its involvement in the pathology of Parkinson’s disease. However, under in vitro conditions αSyn is very soluble and kinetically stable for extended time periods. As a result, most αSyn aggregation assays rely on conditions that artificially induce or enhance aggregation, often by introducing rather non-native conditions. It has been shown that αSyn interacts with membranes and conditions have been identified in which membranes can promote as well as inhibit αSyn aggregation. It has also been shown that αSyn has the intrinsic capability to assemble lipid-protein-particles, in a similar way as apolipoproteins can form lipid-bilayer nanodiscs. Here we show that these αSyn-lipid particles (αSyn-LiPs) can also effectively induce, accelerate or inhibit αSyn aggregation, depending on the applied conditions. αSyn-LiPs therefore provide a general platform and additional tool, complementary to other setups, to study various aspects of αSyn amyloid fibril formation.


Lipids secreted from the meibomian glands form the outermost layer of the tear film and reduce its evaporation. Abnormal changes in the quantities or compositions of lipids present in meibomian gland secretions (meibum) are known to lead to dry eye disease, although the underlying mechanism is not yet well understood. The tree shrew is the non-primate mammal most closely related to humans. To assess the utility of the tree shrew as a model for the study of dry eye disease, we analyzed the lipid profile of tree shrew meibum using an untargeted ESI-MS and MS/MSall shotgun approach. The resulting lipidome shared many similarities with human meibum, while also displaying some interesting differences. For example, several classes of lipids, including wax esters, cholesteryl esters, diesters, and OAHFAs, had relatively longer chain lengths in tree shrew meibum. These increases in length may promote more effective reduction of tear evaporation in the tree shrew, which likely underlies the much longer blinking interval of this mammal. Our results suggest that the tree shrew could be an effective model for study of dry eye.


Tetrabenazine reduces chorea symptoms associated with Huntington’s disease by depleting monoamines in pre-synaptic vesicles. It exhibit low aqueous solubility and undergoes first pass metabolism due to which it has low oral bioavailability. The aim of present work was to formulate intranasal tetrabenazine loaded nanoemulsion for better management and treatment of hyperkinesia related with Huntington’s disease. A quality by design (QbD) technique was employed as statistical multivariate approach for formulation and optimization of nanoemulsion. Optimized formulation showed droplet size of 106.80 ± 1.96 nm with polydispersity index (PDI) value of 0.198 ± 0.005 and -9.63 ± 0.63 mV zeta potential. Ex-vivo drug permeation studies were carried out and found that the formulation has an augmented permeation by 1.68 times as compared to tetrabenazine suspension. MTT assay on neuro-2a cell lines showed that tetrabenazine loaded nanoemulsion displayed better cell viability than placebo and aqueous drug solution at ½×Cmax, Cmax and 2×Cmax. Pharmacokinetic parameters in brain after intranasal administration of tetrabenazine nanoemulsion were found to be Cmax = 3.497 ± 0.275 µg/ml, AUC0-12 = 29.196 ± 0.870 µg.h/ml and elimination rate constant (ke) = 0.097 ± 0.012 h-1 where as in plasma the pharmacokinetic parameters were Cmax = 1.400 ± 0.084 µg/ml, AUC0-12 = 12.925 ± 0.340 µg.h/ml and ke = 0.061 ± 0.010 h-1. Histopathalogical studies of porcine nasal mucosa showed that nasal mucosa remain intact when treated with tetrabenazine loaded nanoemulsion. Thus it can be concluded from study that optimized nanoemulsion formulation of a tetrabenazine was robust and its delivery through nasal route is a viable alternative to other routes of administration for treatment of hyperkinesia associated with Huntington’s disease.


The compound γ-terpineol, which presents potential as microbicide and anticancer drug, was incorporated in cholesterol Langmuir monolayers, pure or mixed with DPPC. The compound expands the monolayers at higher molecular areas, but condenses them at lower areas, indicating a structural molecular rearrangement of γ-terpineol at the-water interface upon compression. Such effect was confirmed with rheological, surface potential, Brewster angle microscopy and infrared data, which indicated, respectively, reduction of the compressional modulus of the lipid monolayer, decrease of the surface potential, formation of aggregates, and alteration of the trans/gauche conformers ratio for methylene groups. Distinctive effects were observed for cholesterol monolayers without or with the presence of DPPC. Such results may help understand how the interaction of γ-terpineol with lipidic surfaces is modulated by lipids able to mediate the packing state of biointerfaces.


Epsin-like Clathrin Adaptor 1 (ECA1/ PICALM1A) is an A/ENTH domain protein that acts as an adaptor protein in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. ECA1 is recruited to the membrane during salt stress signaling in plants in a phosphatidic acid (PA)-dependent manner. PA is a lipid second messenger that rapidly and transiently increases in concentration under stress stimuli. Upon an increase in PA concentration another lipid, diacylglycerol pyrophosphate (DGPP), starts to accumulate. The accumulation of DGPP is suggested to be a cue for attenuating PA signaling during stress in plants. We showed in vitro that ECA1-PA binding is modulated as a function of membrane curvature stress and charge. In this work, we investigate ECA1 binding to DGPP in comparison with PA. We show that ECA1 has more affinity for the less charged PA, and this binding is pH dependent. Additionally, plant PA binding proteins SnRK2.10, TGD2C, and PDK1-PH2 were investigated for their interaction with DGPP, since no known DGPP binding proteins are available in the literature to date. Our results shed further light on DGPP and its interactions with membrane proteins which brings us closer towards understanding the complexity of protein interactions with anionic lipids, especially the enigmatic anionic lipid DGPP.


The monolayer behavior of a DPPC derivative with a single fluorination in one of its terminal methyl groups (F-DPPC) at air-water interface was investigated by epifluorescence microscopy and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRRAS). Epifluorescence microscopy was utilized to study the shape and morphology of liquid-condensed (LC) domains observed upon compression of the film. IRRAS was employed for the determination of chain order and orientation. The shapes of LC-domains in a monolayer of F-DPPC are more dependent on the rate of compression than those of DPPC. The LC domains of F-DPPC display pronounced fractal growth patterns depending on the compression speed. The evolution of LC domain occurs under dominating electrostatic dipolar forces in F-DPPC. IRRAS measurements with the analysis of the frequency of the methylene stretching vibrations as a function of film compression show that the acyl chains in an F-DPPC monolayer in the LE-phase are more disordered than those in a DPPC film. The reason for the higher chain disorder in LE phase F-DPPC monolayers is a back folding of the fluorinated sn-2 chain terminus towards the air-water interface leading to larger molecular area requirement. Angular dependent IRRA spectra of monolayers at a surface pressures of 30 mN m-1 show that in the LC phase DPPC and F-DPPC exhibit a similar tilt of the acyl chains of ca. 28-30° relative to the surface normal. F-DPPC is ideally miscible with L-DPPC-d62 having the same chirality, as indicated by epifluorescence images and by IRRAS. However, the LC domains in an equimolar mixture of D-DPPC and F-DPPC having opposite chirality show multi-lobed complex domain patterns indicating chiral phase separation within LC domains.


The interaction of anionic magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs) of size 18 nm with negatively charged giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) formed from a mixture of neutral dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and negatively charged dioleoylphosphatidylglycerol (DOPG) lipids has been investigated. It has been obtained that NPs induces the deformation of spherical GUVs. The reaction of other GUVs on NPs consists in the appearance of pores in their membranes. We focused the effect of electrostatics on the interaction of charged membranes with MNPs. To study the influence of the surface charge of GUVs on the processes under consideration, we varied the fraction of DOPG in the vesicles from 0 to 100%. We examined the influence of salt concentration in the range of 50-300 mM NaCl concentration. To describe the degree of deformation, a special parameter compactness was introduced. The pore formation in the membranes of GUVs was investigated by the leakage of sucrose. The compactness increases with time and also NPs concentration. The fraction of deformed GUVs increases with the increase of surface charge density of membranes as well as the decrease of salt concentration in buffer. The value of compactness for neutral membrane is 1.25 times higher than that of charged ones. The fraction of deformed GUVs become constant after 20 min, however it increases with NPs concentration. The time taken for stochastic pore formation is less for charged membrane than neutral one. The physical mechanism explaining the experimental results obtained in these investigations.