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Journal Article

Cardiolipin prevents pore formation in phosphatidylglycerol bacterial membrane models


Cossio,  Pilar       
Department of Theoretical Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;
Biophysics of Tropical Diseases, Max Planck Tandem Group, University of Antioquia UdeA, Medellin, Colombia;

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Rocha-Roa, C., Orjuela, J. D., Leidy, C., Cossio, P., & Aponte-Santamaría, C. (2021). Cardiolipin prevents pore formation in phosphatidylglycerol bacterial membrane models. FEBS Letters, 595(21), 2701-2714. doi:10.1002/1873-3468.14206.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-5802-2
Several antimicrobial peptides, including magainin and the human cathelicidin LL-37, act by forming pores in bacterial membranes. Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus modify their membrane's cardiolipin composition to resist such types of perturbations that compromise their membrane stability. Here, we used molecular dynamics simulations to quantify the role of cardiolipin on the formation of pores in simple bacterial-like membrane models composed of phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin mixtures. Cardiolopin modified the structure and ordering of the lipid bilayer, making it less susceptible to mechanical changes. Accordingly, the free-energy barrier for the formation of a transmembrane pore and its kinetic instability augmented by increasing the cardiolipin concentration. This is attributed to the unfavorable positioning of cardiolipin near the formed pore, due to its small polar-head and bulky hydrophobic-body. Overall, our study demonstrates how cardiolipin prevents membrane-pore formation and this constitutes a plausible mechanism used by bacteria to act against stress perturbations and, thereby, gain resistance to antimicrobial agents.