Navigation Links
Pathway for membrane building blocks
Date:1/30/2013

The lipid molecules of membranes, also known as phospholipids, are composed of two elements: A hydrophilic head and two long-chain fatty acids. The molecules form a bilayer in the membrane, with all of the heads pointing outwards and the fatty acid chains hanging in a zip-like interlay position.

Biomembranes are constantly reorganized or renewed, for example whenever cells divide. The cell is constantly creating new phospholipids that have to align themselves which they do in both layers of the biomembrane. However, cells only produce phospholipids on one side of the biomembrane. From there, they need to be transported to the other half of the bilayer.

A helping hand through the membrane

The problem is that the hydrophilic and lipophilic parts of the molecule repel each other. "The molecules can anchor themselves in one of the two membrane layers with their lipophilic tail," explains Prof. Dieter Langosch of the TUM Chair of Biopolymer Chemistry. "Translocation to the second layer is not possible because the hydrophilic heads cannot pass through the lipophilic fatty acid chains."

The key to establishing order in the membranes lies in enzymes that transport the molecules to their correct location in the "second layer". Scientists have been searching for such enzymes known as flippases for many years. But now Prof. Langosch and his team have made a breakthrough. They experimented with synthetic peptides, which transport phospholipids through the membrane.

A clever trick

In this process, the researchers came across an indirect transport mechanism. The peptides span both layers of the membrane and are able to bind to individual phospholipids. Prof. Langosch explains: "When the peptides bind the molecules, the surrounding membrane is briefly destabilized. The new phospholipids use this opportunity to slip through the barrier of the first lipid layer and flip to the second layer of the membrane."

The researchers now have a clear idea of how flippases work. "Our peptides stretch through the membrane like a corkscrew. If this "alpha-helix" has dynamic elements, it can bind to phospholipids," says Prof. Langosch. "This model will help us to detect the flippases."


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Wankerl
wankerl@zv.tum.de
49-892-892-2562
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
2. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
3. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
4. Study discovers genetic pathway impacting the spread of cancer cells
5. Researchers pinpoint genetic pathway of rare facial malformation in children
6. A new candidate pathway for treating visceral obesity
7. Study identifies pathway to enhance usefulness of EGFR inhibitors in lung cancer treatment
8. Cleveland Clinic researchers receive $5 million grant to discover novel pathways to heart disease
9. Fragile X and Down syndromes share signalling pathway for intellectual disability
10. New neural pathway controlling skeletal development discovered
11. Discovery of molecular pathway of Alzheimers disease reveals new drug targets
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pathway for membrane building blocks
(Date:3/24/2017)... Mar 24, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report ... ... at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade to ... report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global ... of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 ... market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... NEW YORK , March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Customer Marketing Cloud used by retailers such as ... in its platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using ... to give more personalized product and replenishment recommendations ... purchases, but also on predictions of customer intent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... , ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... into a different cell type. Many treatments for specific cancers, such as breast, ... of targeted treatment is androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer. , ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... OXFORD, England , Aug. 16, 2017  Kingfisher ... executive search and leadership development, and Virdis Group, global executive ... an exclusive alliance that enables clients to leverage the expertise ... "For our clients here in the Boston ... a diverse population of leadership talent throughout the US, ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... ... Any expert in stem cell research or stem cell medicine knows well the ... Despite their essential roles in human health and regenerative medicine, adult tissue stem ... this purpose also tag other, more abundant, non-stem tissue cells ( See 2017 Cell ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... Every ... Key researchers in the antibody community have recently come together to address this ... in the laboratory. , The team at Thermo Fisher Scientific ...
Breaking Biology Technology: