Polak, Andraz; Tarek, Mounir; Tomsic, Matija; Valant, Janez; Ulrih, Natasa Poklar; Jamnik, Andrej; Kramar, Peter; Miklavcic, Damijan
Electroporation of archaeal lipid membranes using MD simulations

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to investigate the electroporation of archaeal lipid bilayers when subjected to high transmembrane voltages induced by a charge imbalance, mimicking therefore millisecond electric pulse experiments. The structural characteristics of the bilayer, a 9:91 mol% 2,3-di-O-sesterterpanyl-sn-glicerol-1-phospho-myo-inositol (AI) and 2,3-di-O-sesterterpanyl-sn-glicerol-1-phospho-1'(2'-O-alpha-D-glucosyl)- myo-inositol (AGI) were compared to small angle X-ray scattering data. A rather good agreement of the electron density profiles at temperatures of 298 and 343 K was found assessing therefore the validity of the protocols and force fields used in simulations. Compared to dipalmitoyl-phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), the electroporation threshold for the bilayer was found to increase from similar to 2 V to 43 Vat 323 K, and to 5.2 Vat 298 K. Comparing the electroporation thresholds of the archaeal lipids to those of simple diphytanoyl-phosphatidylcholine (DPhPC) bilayers (2.5 Vat 323 K) allowed one to trace back the stability of the membranes to the structure of their lipid head groups. Addition of DPPC in amounts of 50 mol% to the archaeal lipid bilayers decreases their stability and lowers the electroporation thresholds to 3.8 V and 4.1 Vat respectively 323 and 298 K. The present study therefore shows how membrane compositions can be selected to cover a wide range of responses to electric stimuli. This provides new routes for the design of liposomes that can be efficiently used as drug delivery carriers, as the selection of their composition allows one to tune in their electroporation threshold for subsequent release of their load. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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