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Membrane interactions of glycosyltransferases
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. (Lena Mäler)
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many important biological processes occur near or in membranes. The role of membranes is not merely confined to compartmentalization, they also form the matrix for membrane associated proteins and are of functional importance. Membrane associated proteins on the other hand require specific membrane properties for proper function. The interactions between membranes and proteins are thus of paramount importance and are at the focus of this work.

To draw valid conclusions about the nature of such interactions the membrane mimetics required in biophysical methods must faithfully mimic crucial properties of biological membranes. To this end, new types of small isotropic bicelles which mimic plant and bacterial membranes were characterized by their size and lipid dynamics using solution-state NMR. Small isotropic bicelles are specifically well suited for solution-state NMR studies since they maintain a bilayer while being sufficiently small to conduct interpretable experiments at the same time. Monogalactosyl diacylglycerol and digalactosyl diacylglycerol, which are highly abundant in thylakoid membranes, were successfully incorporated into bicelles. Also, it was possible to make bicelles containing a lipid mixture extracted from Escherichia coli cells.

A fundamental physical property of lipids in bilayers is their phase behaviour and thus the dynamics that lipids undergo in a membrane. Here, the dynamics of 13C-1H bonds in lipids were studied by nuclear spin relaxation. From such studies it was found that the glycerol backbone of lipids in bicelles is rigid while the flexibility of the acyl chain increases towards its end. Bulky head groups are rigid, while smaller head groups are more dynamic than the glycerol backbone. Acyl chain modifications, like unsaturations or cyclopropane moities, that are typically found in E. coli lipids, locally increase the rigidity of the acyl chain.

Membrane interactions of a putative membrane anchor of the glycosyltransferase WaaG, MIR-WaaG, were studied by fluorescence methods, circular dichroism and solution-state NMR. It was found that MIR-WaaG binds to vesicles that mimic the anionic charge of E. coli inner membranes and that α-helical structure is induced upon interaction. The NMR-structure of MIR-WaaG agrees well with the crystal structure and from paramagnetic relaxation enhancement studies it could be concluded that a central part of MIR-WaaG is immersed in the membrane mimetic. Based on these results a model of the membrane interaction of WaaG is proposed where MIR-WaaG anchors WaaG to the cytosolic leaflet of the E. coli inner membrane via electrostatic interactions. These are potentially enhanced by membrane interactions of Tyr residues at the membrane interface and of hydrophobic residues inside the membrane.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm University, 2015. , 95 p.
Keyword [en]
Lipid, bicelle, glycosyltransferase, NMR
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122485OAI: diva2:866585
2015-11-25, K438, Svante Arrhenius väg 16C, Stockholm, 15:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2015-11-03Bibliographically approved

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