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Molecular organization in hydroperoxidized POPC bilayers

Helena Junqueira, André P.Schroder, Fabrice Thalmann, Andrey Klymchenko, Yves Mély, Mauricio S.Baptista, Carlos M. Marques
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, Volume 1863, Issue 10, 1 October 2021, 183659

Lipid hydroperoxides are the primary reaction products of lipid oxidation, a natural outcome of life under oxygen. While playing a major role in cell metabolism, the microscopic origins of the effects of lipid hydroperoxidation on biomembranes remain elusive. Here we probe the polar structure of partially to fully hydroperoxidized bilayers of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) by a combination of environment-sensitive fluorescent probes and coarse-grained Martini numerical simulations. We find that the inserted organic hydroperoxide group -OOH migrates preferentially to the surface for bilayers with small fractions of hydroperoxidized lipids, but populates also significantly the bilayer interior for larger fractions. Our findings suggest that by modifying the intimate polarity of biomembranes, lipid peroxidation will have a significant impact on the activity of transmembrane proteins and on the bio-medical efficiency of membrane active molecules such as cell-penetrating and antimicrobial peptides.

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