Abstract: The interaction of lipid environments with the type I’ β-turn peptide structure called CSF114 and its N-glucosylated form CSF114(Glc), previously developed as a synthetic antigenic probe recognizing specific autoantibodies in a subpopulation of multiple sclerosis patients’ serum, was investigated by fluorescence spectroscopy and electrochemical experiments using large unilamellar vesicles, mercury supported lipid self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs). The synthetic antigenic probe N-glucosylated peptide CSF114(Glc) and its unglucosylated form interact with the polar heads of lipid SAMs of dioleoylphosphatidylcholine at nonzero transmembrane potentials, probably establishing a dual electrostatic interaction of the trimethylammonium and phosphate groups of the phosphatidylcholine polar head with the Glu5 and His9 residues on the opposite ends of the CSF114(Glc) β-turn encompassing residues 6-9. His9 protonation at pH 7 eliminates this dual interaction. CSF114(Glc) is adsorbed on top of SAMs of mixtures of dioleoylphosphatidylcholine with sphingomyelin, an important component of myelin, whose proteins are hypothesized to undergo an aberrant N-glucosylation triggering the autoimmune response. Incorporation of the type I’ β-turn peptide structure CSF114 into lipid SAMs by potential scans of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy induces defects causing a slight permeabilization toward cadmium ions. The N-glucopeptide CSF114(Glc) does not affect tBLMs to a detectable extent.
Abstract: Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinases (PIKKs) play vital roles in the regulation of cell growth, proliferation, survival, and consequently metabolism, as well as in the cellular response to stresses such as ionizing radiation or redox changes. In humans six family members are known to date, namely mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM), ataxia- and Rad3-related (ATR), DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), suppressor of morphogenesis in genitalia-1 (SMG-1), and transformation/transcription domain-associated protein (TRRAP). All fulfill rather diverse functions and most of them have been detected in different cellular compartments including various cellular membranes. It has been suggested that the regulation of the localization of signaling proteins allows for generating a locally specific output. Moreover, spatial partitioning is expected to improve the reliability of biochemical signaling. Since these assumptions may also be true for the regulation of PIKK function, the current knowledge about the regulation of the localization of PIKKs at different cellular (membrane) compartments by a network of interactions is reviewed. Membrane targeting can involve direct lipid-/membrane interactions as well as interactions with membrane-anchored regulatory proteins, such as, for example, small GTPases, or a combination of both.
Abstract: NIt was recently reported that static magnetic fields increase lipid order in the hydrophobic membrane core of dehydrated native plant plasma membranes [Poinapen, Soft Matter 9:6804-6813, 2013]. As plasma membranes are multicomponent, highly complex structures, in order to elucidate the origin of this effect, we prepared model membranes consisting of a lipid species with low and high melting temperature. By controlling the temperature, bilayers coexisting of small gel and fluid domains were prepared as a basic model for the plasma membrane core. We studied molecular order in mixed lipid membranes made of dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) and dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) using neutron diffraction in the presence of strong static magnetic fields up to 3.5 T. The contribution of the hydrophobic membrane core was highlighted through deuterium labeling the lipid acyl chains. There was no observable effect on lipid organization in fluid or gel domains at high hydration of the membranes. However, lipid order was found to be enhanced at a reduced relative humidity of 43%: a magnetic field of 3.5 T led to an increase of the gel signal in the diffraction patterns of 5%. While all biological materials have weak diamagnetic properties, the corresponding energy is too small to compete against thermal disorder or viscous effects in the case of lipid molecules. We tentatively propose that the interaction between the fatty acid chains’ electric moment and the external magnetic field is driving the lipid tails in the hydrophobic membrane core into a better ordered state.
Abstract: Many reclamation treatments as well as integrated processes for the purification of olive mill wastewaters (OMW) have already been proposed and developed but not led to completely satisfactory results, principally due to complexity or cost-ineffectiveness. The olive oil industry in its current status, composed of little and dispersed factories, cannot stand such high costs. Moreover, these treatments are not able to abate the high concentration of dissolved inorganic matter present in these highly polluted effluents. In the present work, a review on the actual state of the art concerning the treatment and disposal of OMW by membranes is addressed, comprising microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF), and reverse osmosis (RO), as well as membrane bioreactors (MBR) and non-conventional membrane processes such as vacuum distillation (VD), osmotic distillation (OD) and forward osmosis (FO). Membrane processes are becoming extensively used to replace many conventional processes in the purification of water and groundwater as well as in the reclamation of wastewater streams of very diverse sources, such as those generated by agro-industrial activities. Moreover, a brief insight into inhibition and control of fouling by properly-tailored pretreatment processes upstream the membrane operation and the use of the critical and threshold flux theories is provided.
Abstract: Our understanding of the electrical properties of cell membranes is derived from experiments where the membrane is exposed to a perturbation (in the form of a time-dependent voltage or current change) and information is extracted from the measured output. The interpretation of such electrical recordings consists in finding an electronic equivalent that would show the same or similar response as the biological system. In general, however, there is no unique circuit configuration, which can explain a single electrical recording and the choice of an electric model for a biological system is based on complementary information (most commonly structural information) of the system investigated. Most of the electrophysiological data on cell membranes address the functional role of protein channels while assuming that the lipid matrix is an insulator with constant capacitance. However, close to their melting transition the lipid bilayers are no inert insulators. Their conductivity and their capacitance are nonlinear functions of both voltage, area and volume density. This has to be considered when interpreting electrical data. Here we show how electric data commonly interpreted as gating currents of proteins and inductance can be explained by the nonlinear dynamics of the lipid matrix itself.
Abstract: The interactions of the basic, cell-penetrating region (Y47GRKKRRQRRR57) of the HIV-1 Tat protein with dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) bilayers were previously assessed by comparing experimental X-ray diffuse scattering with atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Here, we extend this investigation by evaluating the influence of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) lipids. Using experimental bilayer form factors derivedfrom X-ray diffuse scattering data as a guide, our simulations indicate that Tat peptides localize close to the carbonyl-glycerol group in the headgroup region of bilayers composed of either DOPC or DOPC:DOPE (1:1) lipid. Our results also suggest that Tat peptides may more frequently insert into the hydrophobic core of bilayers composed of PC:PE (1:1) lipids than into bilayers composed entirely of PC lipids. PE lipids may facilitate peptide translocation across a lipid bilayer by stabilizing intermediate states in which hydrated peptides span the bilayer.