BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos
Learning Membrane Biophysics from Archaea Sept, David
Many archaea are able to withstand extremes of temperature, pH and/or levels of salt. One unique feature of these extremophiles that gives them this capability is that their membranes are made from covalently linked, tetraether lipids that form a monolayer rather than a traditional bilayer. Here I present experimental and computational results on a series of synthetic archaea-inspired lipids, looking at their biophysical properties and rates of permeation. Apart from a number of interesting mechanical and material properties, we find that tethered lipids exhibit a much stronger dependence on the entropy of activation for small molecules to cross the membrane. We also find that traditional parameters, such as the area per lipid or variance in the area per lipid, correlate poorly with permeation rates, but the rates of water penetration into the core of the membrane provide an excellent correlate that matches experimental observations.
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