Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Lipid assisted membrane entry in specific phospholipid targeted protein systems

Tuula Nurminen

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Biochemistry and Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine, Biochemistry.

The purpose of this thesis project is to study changes in the physical state of cell membranes during cell entry, including how these changes are connected to the presence of ceramide. The role of enzymatical manipulation of lipids in bacterial internalization is also studied.

A novel technique, where a single giant vesicle is chosen under the microscope and an enzyme coupled-particle attached to the micromanipulator pipette towards the vesicle, is used. Thus, the enzymatic reaction on the membrane of the giant vesicle can be followed in real-time. The first aim of this study is to develop a system where the localized sphingomyelinase membrane interaction could be observed on the surface of the giant vesicle and the effects could be monitored with microscopy. Domain formation, which resembles acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase), causes CD95 clustering in the cell membrane due to ceramide production (Grassmé et al., 2001a; Grassmé et al., 2001b) and the formation of small vesicles inside the manipulated giant vesicle is observed.

Sphingomyelinase activation has also been found to be an important factor in the bacterial and viral invasion process in nonphagocytic cells (Grassmé et al., 1997; Jan et al., 2000). Accordingly, sphingomyelinase reactions in the cell membrane might also give insight into bacterial or viral cellular entry events. We found sphingomyelinase activity in Chlamydia pneumonia elementarybodies (EBs). Interestingly, the bacterium enters host cells by endocytosis but the internalization mechanism of Chlamydia is unknown. The hypothesis is that sphingomyelin is needed for host cell entry in the infection of C. pneumonia. The second project focuses on this subject.

The goal of the third project is to study a role of phosphatidylserine as a target for a membrane binding protein. Phosphatidylserine is chosen because of its importance in fusion processes. This will be another example for the importance of lipids in cell targeting, internalization, and externalization.

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 14.12.2006

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