Little is known about the interaction of very long-chain saturated fatty acids (VLCFAs) with biological membranes. However, this could play an important role on interleaflet interactions and signal transduction mechanisms in cells. The aim of this work is to determine how VLCFA structurally adapts in fluid phospholipid bilayers, since both species must exhibit a significant hydrophobic mismatch. The membrane organization has been described by means of 2H NMR and molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that the protonation state affects the position and order of free fatty acids (FFAs) in phospholipid membranes. It was shown that the protonated FFA-C24 carboxyl group is located slightly under the POPC head group and therefore its acyl chain can interact with the lipids of the opposite leaflet. This interdigitation of the end of the acyl chain causes a second plateau observed in SC-D profiles, a very unusual feature in lipid systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry