Chemistry Publications

Role of cholesterol flip-flop in oxidized lipid bilayers.

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Biophysical journal



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We performed a series of molecular dynamics simulations of cholesterol (Chol) in nonoxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-linoleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (PLPC) bilayer and in binary mixtures of PLPC-oxidized-lipid-bilayers with 0-50% Chol concentration and oxidized lipids with hydroperoxide and aldehyde oxidized functional groups. From the 60 unbiased molecular dynamics simulations (total of 161 μs), we found that Chol inhibited pore formation in the aldehyde-containing oxidized lipid bilayers at concentrations greater than 11%. For both pure PLPC bilayer and bilayers with hydroperoxide lipids, no pores were observed at any Chol concentration. Furthermore, increasing cholesterol concentration led to a change of phase state from the liquid-disordered to the liquid-ordered phase. This condensing effect of Chol was observed in all systems. Data analysis shows that the addition of Chol results in an increase in bilayer thickness. Interestingly, we observed Chol flip-flop only in the aldehyde-containing lipid bilayer but neither in the PLPC nor the hydroperoxide bilayers. Umbrella-sampling simulations were performed to calculate the translocation free energies and the Chol flip-flop rates. The results show that Chol's flip-flop rate depends on the lipid bilayer type, and the highest rate are found in aldehyde bilayers. As the main finding, we shown that Chol stabilizes the oxidized lipid bilayer by confining the distribution of the oxidized functional groups.

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