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Biophysics in Membrane of Cells

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biophysics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2023) | Viewed by 19217

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Xiangya School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China
Interests: pharmaceutical engineering; pharmaceutical excipients; crystallization; functional foods; spray drying; micro- and nano-encapsulation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Xiangya School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China
Interests: new drug development; nucleic acid aptamers; disease diagnosis; transdermal drug delivery; multifunctional nanocarriers; pathological mechanism of diseases
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Studies on the biophysics of the membrane of cells have led to a dramatic change in life science and contributed significantly to clinical applications. To reveal the biophysics in the membrane of cells, studying the structure and function of the membrane, the molecular mechanisms of various activities of the cell, the dynamic understanding of membranes, the role of lipids in membranes, the structure of channels as well as their opening and closing processes, the structure of receptors and their specific interactions with ligands, the information transfer mechanism, the constituent structure of electron transfer chains and their motion, and energy conversion mechanisms is required. The current research on cell biophysics is not deep enough to understand current bioscience. With the progress in molecular and membrane biophysics, the molecular mechanisms of various activities of cells may be gradually clarified. This open access Special Issue will bring together original research and review articles on the biophysics of the membrane of cells. It highlights new discoveries, approaches, and technical developments in cellular biophysics. The main feature of this Special Issue is to provide an open source sharing of significant works in the field of cellular biophysics that can advance our understanding of biological development at the molecular and cellular levels, which may lead to the discovery of novel cellular technologies and targeted therapeutics.

Prof. Dr. Songwen Tan
Prof. Dr. Wenhu Zhou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Dynamic understanding of membranes
  • The role of lipids in membranes
  • Structure of channels as well as their opening and closing process
  • Receptor structures and their specific interactions with ligands
  • Information transfer mechanism
  • The constituent structure of electron transfer chains
  • Energy conversion mechanisms
  • Cryopreservation of cells
  • Biophysics in the membranes of tissues and organic in vivo and in vitro
  • In clinical and in silico analysis for novel cellular technologies and targeted therapeutics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

2 pages, 185 KiB  
Editorial
Biophysics in Membrane of Cells
by Songwen Tan and Wenhu Zhou
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(16), 12708; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241612708 - 11 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
The membrane of a cell, often compared to a dynamic city border, carries out an intricate dance of controlling entry and exit, guarding the valuable life processes occurring inside [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)

Research

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15 pages, 2541 KiB  
Article
Dimethylglycine Can Enhance the Cryopreservation of Red Blood Cells by Reducing Ice Formation and Oxidative Damage
by Yuying Hu, Xiangjian Liu, Marlene Davis Ekpo, Jiangming Chen, Xiaoxiao Chen, Wenqian Zhang, Rui Zhao, Jingxian Xie, Yongju He and Songwen Tan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6696; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076696 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2257
Abstract
The cryopreservation of red blood cells (RBCs) holds great potential for ensuring timely blood transfusions and maintaining an adequate RBC inventory. The conventional cryoprotectants (CPAs) have a lot of limitations, and there is an obvious need for novel, efficient, and biocompatible CPAs. Here, [...] Read more.
The cryopreservation of red blood cells (RBCs) holds great potential for ensuring timely blood transfusions and maintaining an adequate RBC inventory. The conventional cryoprotectants (CPAs) have a lot of limitations, and there is an obvious need for novel, efficient, and biocompatible CPAs. Here, it is shown for the first time that the addition of dimethylglycine (DMG) improved the thawed RBC recovery from 11.55 ± 1.40% to 72.15 ± 1.22%. We found that DMG could reduce the mechanical damage by inhibiting ice formation and recrystallization during cryopreservation. DMG can also scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and maintain endogenous antioxidant enzyme activities to decrease oxidative damage during cryopreservation. Furthermore, the properties of thawed RBCs were found to be similar to the fresh RBCs in the control. Finally, the technique for order performance by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) was used to compare the performance of glycerol (Gly), hydroxyethyl starch (HES), and DMG in cryopreservation, and DMG exhibited the best efficiency. This work confirms the use of DMG as a novel CPA for cryopreservation of RBCs and may promote clinical transfusion therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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15 pages, 2170 KiB  
Article
Lipids in Mitochondrial Macroautophagy: Phase Behavior of Bilayers Containing Cardiolipin and Ceramide
by Yaiza R. Varela, Emilio J. González-Ramírez, Marina N. Iriondo, Uxue Ballesteros, Asier Etxaniz, Lidia Ruth Montes, Félix M. Goñi and Alicia Alonso
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065080 - 7 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1496
Abstract
Cardiolipin (CL) is a key lipid for damaged mitochondrial recognition by the LC3/GABARAP human autophagy proteins. The role of ceramide (Cer) in this process is unclear, but CL and Cer have been proposed to coexist in mitochondria under certain conditions. Varela et al. [...] Read more.
Cardiolipin (CL) is a key lipid for damaged mitochondrial recognition by the LC3/GABARAP human autophagy proteins. The role of ceramide (Cer) in this process is unclear, but CL and Cer have been proposed to coexist in mitochondria under certain conditions. Varela et al. showed that in model membranes composed of egg sphingomyelin (eSM), dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE), and CL, the addition of Cer enhanced the binding of LC3/GABARAP proteins to bilayers. Cer gave rise to lateral phase separation of Cer-rich rigid domains but protein binding took place mainly in the fluid continuous phase. In the present study, a biophysical analysis of bilayers composed of eSM, DOPE, CL, and/or Cer was attempted to understand the relevance of this lipid coexistence. Bilayers were studied by differential scanning calorimetry, confocal fluorescence microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Upon the addition of CL and Cer, one continuous phase and two segregated ones were formed. In bilayers with egg phosphatidylcholine instead of eSM, in which the binding of LC3/GABARAP proteins hardly increased with Cer in the former study, a single segregated phase was formed. Assuming that phase separation at the nanoscale is ruled by the same principles acting at the micrometer scale, it is proposed that Cer-enriched rigid nanodomains, stabilized by eSM:Cer interactions formed within the DOPE- and CL-enriched fluid phase, result in structural defects at the rigid/fluid nanointerfaces, thus hypothetically facilitatingLC3/GABARAP protein interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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14 pages, 2245 KiB  
Article
Effect of Lipid Raft Disruptors on Cell Membrane Fluidity Studied by Fluorescence Spectroscopy
by Ádám Horváth, János Erostyák and Éva Szőke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(22), 13729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232213729 - 8 Nov 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
Lipid rafts are specialized microdomains in cell membranes, rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids, and play an integrative role in several physiological and pathophysiological processes. The integrity of rafts can be disrupted via their cholesterol content—with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MCD) or with our own carboxamido-steroid compound [...] Read more.
Lipid rafts are specialized microdomains in cell membranes, rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids, and play an integrative role in several physiological and pathophysiological processes. The integrity of rafts can be disrupted via their cholesterol content—with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MCD) or with our own carboxamido-steroid compound (C1)—or via their sphingolipid content—with sphingomyelinase (SMase) or with myriocin (Myr). We previously proved by the fluorescent spectroscopy method with LAURDAN that treatment with lipid raft disruptors led to a change in cell membrane polarity. In this study, we focused on the alteration of parameters describing membrane fluidity, such as generalized polarization (GP), characteristic time of the GP values change—Center of Gravity (τCoG)—and rotational mobility (τrot) of LAURDAN molecules. Myr caused a blue shift of the LAURDAN spectrum (higher GP value), while other agents lowered GP values (red shift). MCD decreased the CoG values, while other compounds increased it, so MCD lowered membrane stiffness. In the case of τrot, only Myr lowered the rotation of LAURDAN, while the other compounds increased the speed of τrot, which indicated a more disordered membrane structure. Overall, MCD appeared to increase the fluidity of the membranes, while treatment with the other compounds resulted in decreased fluidity and increased stiffness of the membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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14 pages, 2352 KiB  
Article
Tricine as a Novel Cryoprotectant with Osmotic Regulation, Ice Recrystallization Inhibition and Antioxidant Properties for Cryopreservation of Red Blood Cells
by Xiangjian Liu, Yuying Hu, Wenqian Zhang, Deyi Yang, Yuxin Pan, Marlene Davis Ekpo, Jingxian Xie, Rui Zhao and Songwen Tan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(15), 8462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23158462 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2027
Abstract
The cryopreservation of red blood cells (RBCs) plays a key role in blood transfusion therapy. Traditional cryoprotectants (CPAs) are mostly organic solvents and may cause side effects to RBCs, such as hemolysis and membrane damage. Therefore, it is necessary to find CPAs with [...] Read more.
The cryopreservation of red blood cells (RBCs) plays a key role in blood transfusion therapy. Traditional cryoprotectants (CPAs) are mostly organic solvents and may cause side effects to RBCs, such as hemolysis and membrane damage. Therefore, it is necessary to find CPAs with a better performance and lower toxicity. Herein, we report for the first time that N-[Tri(hydroxymethyl)methyl]glycine (tricine) showed a great potential in the cryopreservation of sheep RBCs. The addition of tricine significantly increased the thawed RBCs’ recovery from 19.5 ± 1.8% to 81.2 ± 8.5%. The properties of thawed RBCs were also maintained normally. Through mathematical modeling analysis, tricine showed a great efficiency in cryopreservation. We found that tricine had a good osmotic regulation capacity, which could mitigate the dehydration of RBCs during cryopreservation. In addition, tricine inhibited ice recrystallization, thereby decreasing the mechanical damage from ice. Tricine could also reduce oxidative damage during freezing and thawing by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and maintaining the activities of endogenous antioxidant enzymes. This work is expected to open up a new path for the study of novel CPAs and promote the development of cryopreservation of RBCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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Review

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23 pages, 3308 KiB  
Review
The Role of Cryoprotective Agents in Liposome Stabilization and Preservation
by George Frimpong Boafo, Kosheli Thapa Magar, Marlene Davis Ekpo, Wang Qian, Songwen Tan and Chuanpin Chen
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(20), 12487; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232012487 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4765
Abstract
To improve liposomes’ usage as drug delivery vehicles, cryoprotectants can be utilized to prevent constituent leakage and liposome instability. Cryoprotective agents (CPAs) or cryoprotectants can protect liposomes from the mechanical stress of ice by vitrifying at a specific temperature, which forms a glassy [...] Read more.
To improve liposomes’ usage as drug delivery vehicles, cryoprotectants can be utilized to prevent constituent leakage and liposome instability. Cryoprotective agents (CPAs) or cryoprotectants can protect liposomes from the mechanical stress of ice by vitrifying at a specific temperature, which forms a glassy matrix. The majority of studies on cryoprotectants demonstrate that as the concentration of the cryoprotectant is increased, the liposomal stability improves, resulting in decreased aggregation. The effectiveness of CPAs in maintaining liposome stability in the aqueous state essentially depends on a complex interaction between protectants and bilayer composition. Furthermore, different types of CPAs have distinct effective mechanisms of action; therefore, the combination of several cryoprotectants may be beneficial and novel attributed to the synergistic actions of the CPAs. In this review, we discuss the use of liposomes as drug delivery vehicles, phospholipid–CPA interactions, their thermotropic behavior during freezing, types of CPA and their mechanism for preventing leakage of drugs from liposomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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18 pages, 837 KiB  
Review
Antifreeze Proteins: Novel Applications and Navigation towards Their Clinical Application in Cryobanking
by Marlene Davis Ekpo, Jingxian Xie, Yuying Hu, Xiangjian Liu, Fenglin Liu, Jia Xiang, Rui Zhao, Bo Wang and Songwen Tan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(5), 2639; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23052639 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5142
Abstract
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) or thermal hysteresis (TH) proteins are biomolecular gifts of nature to sustain life in extremely cold environments. This family of peptides, glycopeptides and proteins produced by diverse organisms including bacteria, yeast, insects and fish act by non-colligatively depressing the freezing [...] Read more.
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) or thermal hysteresis (TH) proteins are biomolecular gifts of nature to sustain life in extremely cold environments. This family of peptides, glycopeptides and proteins produced by diverse organisms including bacteria, yeast, insects and fish act by non-colligatively depressing the freezing temperature of the water below its melting point in a process termed thermal hysteresis which is then responsible for ice crystal equilibrium and inhibition of ice recrystallisation; the major cause of cell dehydration, membrane rupture and subsequent cryodamage. Scientists on the other hand have been exploring various substances as cryoprotectants. Some of the cryoprotectants in use include trehalose, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), ethylene glycol (EG), sucrose, propylene glycol (PG) and glycerol but their extensive application is limited mostly by toxicity, thus fueling the quest for better cryoprotectants. Hence, extracting or synthesizing antifreeze protein and testing their cryoprotective activity has become a popular topic among researchers. Research concerning AFPs encompasses lots of effort ranging from understanding their sources and mechanism of action, extraction and purification/synthesis to structural elucidation with the aim of achieving better outcomes in cryopreservation. This review explores the potential clinical application of AFPs in the cryopreservation of different cells, tissues and organs. Here, we discuss novel approaches, identify research gaps and propose future research directions in the application of AFPs based on recent studies with the aim of achieving successful clinical and commercial use of AFPs in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysics in Membrane of Cells)
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