Lipid Headgroup Charge and Acyl Chain Composition Modulate Closure of Bacterial β-Barrel Channels.


Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Department of Physics, Universitat Jaume I, 12071 Castellón, Spain. [Email]


The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria contains β-barrel proteins that form high-conducting ion channels providing a path for hydrophilic molecules, including antibiotics. Traditionally, these proteins have been considered to exist only in an open state so that regulation of outer membrane permeability was accomplished via protein expression. However, electrophysiological recordings show that β-barrel channels respond to transmembrane voltages by characteristically switching from a high-conducting, open state, to a so-called 'closed' state, with reduced permeability and possibly exclusion of large metabolites. Here, we use the bacterial porin OmpF from E. coli as a model system to gain insight on the control of outer membrane permeability by bacterial porins through the modulation of their open state. Using planar bilayer electrophysiology, we perform an extensive study of the role of membrane lipids in the OmpF channel closure by voltage. We pay attention not only to the effects of charges in the hydrophilic lipid heads but also to the contribution of the hydrophobic tails in the lipid-protein interactions. Our results show that gating kinetics is governed by lipid characteristics so that each stage of a sequential closure is different from the previous one, probably because of intra- or intermonomeric rearrangements.


bacterial porins,beta-barrel channel,hydrophobic acyl chains,lipid headgroup charge,phospholipids,voltage gating,

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