Photo-controlled delivery of very long chain fatty acids to cell membranes and modulation of membrane protein function

Publication date: Available online 20 January 2020Source: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - BiomembranesAuthor(s): Li Kong, Edgar Dawkins, Frederick Campbell, Edith Winkler, Rico J.E. Derks, Martin Giera, Frits Kamp, Harald Steiner, Alexander KrosAbstractThe biophysical properties and biological functions of membranes are highly dependent on lipid composition. Supplementing cellular membranes with very long chain fatty acids (vlcFAs) is notoriously difficult given the extreme insolubility of vlcFAs in aqueous solution. Herein, we report a solvent-free, photochemical approach to enrich target membranes with vlcFA. To prevent aggregation of vlcFA, we created light-sensitive micelles composed exclusively of poly-ethylene-glycol-nervonic acid amphiphiles (NA-PEG), which spontaneously disassemble in the presence of lipid bilayers. Once embedded within a membrane, UV light is used to cleave off PEG, leaving free nervonic acid (NA, i.e. FA24:1) in the target membrane. When applied to living cells, free NA was processed by the cell to generate various species of membrane and other lipids with incorporated vlcFAs. In this way, we were able to alter the membrane lipid composition of cellular membranes and modulate the enzymatic activity of γ-secretase, an intramembrane protease whose dysfunction has been implicated in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.Graphical abstract
Source: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) Biomembranes - Category: Biochemistry Source Type: research

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