Publications by authors named "Kin Lok H Lam"

4 Publications

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Beyond electrostatics: Antimicrobial peptide selectivity and the influence of cholesterol-mediated fluidity and lipid chain length on protegrin-1 activity.

Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr 2019 10 8;1861(10):182977. Epub 2019 May 8.

Department of Chemistry, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics and James Frank Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, United States. Electronic address:

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a promising class of innate host defense molecules for next-generation antibiotics, as they uniquely target and permeabilize membranes of pathogens. This selectivity has been explained by the electrostatic attraction between these predominantly cationic peptides and the bacterial membrane, which is heavily populated with anionic lipids. However, AMP-resistant bacteria have non-electrostatic countermeasures that modulate membrane rigidity and thickness. We explore how variations in physical properties affect the membrane affinity and disruption process of protegrin-1 (PG-1) in phosphatidylcholine (PC) membranes with altered lipid packing densities and thicknesses. From isothermal titration calorimetry and atomic force microscopy, our results showed that PG-1 could no longer insert into membranes of increasing cholesterol amounts nor into monounsaturated PC membranes of increasing thicknesses with similar fluidities. Prevention of PG-1's incorporation consequently made the membranes more resistant to peptide-induced structural transformations like pore formation. Our study provides evidence that AMP affinity and activity are strongly correlated with the fluidity and thickness of the membrane. A basic understanding of how physical mechanisms can regulate cell selectivity and resistance towards AMPs will aid in the development of new antimicrobial agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2019.04.011DOI Listing
October 2019

Mechanism of structural transformations induced by antimicrobial peptides in lipid membranes.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2012 Feb 9;1818(2):194-204. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Department of Physics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

It has long been suggested that pore formation is responsible for the increase in membrane permeability by antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). To better understand the mechanism of AMP activity, the disruption of model membrane by protegrin-1 (PG-1), a cationic antimicrobial peptide, was studied using atomic force microscopy. We present here the direct visualization of the full range of structural transformations in supported lipid bilayer patches induced by PG-1 on zwitterionic 1,2-dimyristoyl-snglycero-phospho-choline (DMPC) membranes. When PG-1 is added to DMPC, the peptide first induces edge instability at low concentrations, then pore-like surface defects at intermediate concentrations, and finally wormlike structures with a specific length scale at high concentrations. The formation of these structures can be understood using a mesophase framework of a binary mixture of lipids and peptides, where PG-1 acts as a line-active agent. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations on lipid bilayer ribbons with PG-1 molecules placed at the edge or interior positions are carried out to calculate the effect of PG-1 in reducing line tension. Further investigation of the placement of PG-1 and its association with defects in the bilayer is carried out using unbiased assembly of a PG-1 containing bilayer from a random mixture of PG-1, DMPC, and water. A generalized model of AMP induced structural transformations is also presented in this work. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane protein structure and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.11.002DOI Listing
February 2012

Amyloid-beta fibrillogenesis seeded by interface-induced peptide misfolding and self-assembly.

Biophys J 2010 May;98(10):2299-308

Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

The amphipathicity of the natively unstructured amyloid-beta (Abeta40) peptide may play an important role in its aggregation into beta-sheet rich fibrils, which is linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Using the air/subphase interface as a model interface, we characterized Abeta's surface activity and its conformation, assembly, and morphology at the interface. Abeta readily adsorbed to the air/subphase interface to form a 20 A thick film and showed a critical micelle concentration of approximately 120 nM. Abeta adsorbed at the air/subphase exhibited in-plane ordering that gave rise to Bragg peaks in grazing-incidence x-ray diffraction measurements. Analysis of the peaks showed that the air/subphase interface induced Abeta to fold into a beta-sheet conformation and to self-assemble into approximately 100 A-sized ordered clusters. The formation of these clusters at the air/subphase interface was not affected by pH, salts, or the presence of sucrose or urea, which are known to stabilize or denature native proteins, suggesting that interface-driven Abeta misfolding and assembly are strongly favored. Furthermore, Abeta at the interface seeded the growth of fibrils in the bulk with a distinct morphology compared to those formed by homogeneous nucleation. Our results indicate that interface-induced Abeta misfolding may serve as a heterogeneous, nucleation-controlled aggregation mechanism for Abeta fibrillogenesis in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2010.01.056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872264PMC
May 2010

Mechanism of supported membrane disruption by antimicrobial peptide protegrin-1.

J Phys Chem B 2006 Oct;110(42):21282-6

Department of Physics, The Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, and The James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

While pore formation has been suggested as an important step in the membrane disruption process induced by antimicrobial peptides, membrane pore formation has never been directly visualized. We report on the dynamics of membrane disruption by antimicrobial peptide protegrin-1 (PG-1) on dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-phosphocholine-supported bilayer patches obtained via atomic force microscopy. The action of PG-1 is found to be concentration-dependent. At low PG-1 concentrations (1 < [PG-1] < 4 microg/mL), the peptide destabilizes the edge of the membrane to form fingerlike structures. At higher concentrations, PG-1 induces the formation of a sievelike nanoporous structure in the membrane. The highest degree of disruption is attained at concentrations >or=20 microg/mL, at which PG-1 disrupts the entire membrane, transforming it into stripelike structures with a well-defined and uniform stripe width. This first direct visualization of these membrane structural transformations helps elucidate the PG-1-induced membrane disruption mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp0630065DOI Listing
October 2006