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Characterisation of a synthetic Archeal membrane reveals a possible new adaptation route to extreme conditions

DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02178-y DOI Help

Authors: Marta Salvador-Castell (Univ Lyon, INSA Lyon, CNRS UMR5240) , Maksym Golub (Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS; Institut Laue Langevin) , Nelli Erwin (Technische Universität Dortmund) , Bruno Deme (Institut Laue-Langevin) , Nicholas J. Brooks (Imperial College London) , Roland Winter (Technische Universität Dortmund) , Judith Peters (Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS; Institut Laue Langevin) , Philippe Oger (Univ Lyon, INSA Lyon, CNRS UMR5240)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Communications Biology , VOL 4

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2021
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 23722

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: It has been proposed that adaptation to high temperature involved the synthesis of monolayer-forming ether phospholipids. Recently, a novel membrane architecture was proposed to explain the membrane stability in polyextremophiles unable to synthesize such lipids, in which apolar polyisoprenoids populate the bilayer midplane and modify its physico-chemistry, extending its stability domain. Here, we have studied the effect of the apolar polyisoprenoid squalane on a model membrane analogue using neutron diffraction, SAXS and fluorescence spectroscopy. We show that squalane resides inside the bilayer midplane, extends its stability domain, reduces its permeability to protons but increases that of water, and induces a negative curvature in the membrane, allowing the transition to novel non-lamellar phases. This membrane architecture can be transposed to early membranes and could help explain their emergence and temperature tolerance if life originated near hydrothermal vents. Transposed to the archaeal bilayer, this membrane architecture could explain the tolerance to high temperature in hyperthermophiles which grow at temperatures over 100 °C while having a membrane bilayer. The induction of a negative curvature to the membrane could also facilitate crucial cell functions that require high bending membranes.

Journal Keywords: Archaea; Membrane biophysics

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials, Chemistry

Instruments: I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction

Added On: 07/06/2021 10:09


Discipline Tags:

Biochemistry Chemistry Biophysics Life Sciences & Biotech

Technical Tags:

Scattering Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)