The interaction of selected endotoxin preparations (lipid A from Erwinia carotovora and LPS Re and Ra from Salmonella enterica sv. Minnesota strains R595 and R60, respectively) with selected bile acids was investigated biophysically. Endotoxin aggregates were analyzed for their gel-to-liquid crystalline phase behavior, the type of their aggregates, the conformation of particular functional groups, and their Zeta potential in the absence and presence of the bile acids by applying Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, measurements of the electrophoretic mobility, and synchrotron radiation X-ray scattering. In addition, the ability of the endotoxins to induce cytokines in human mononuclear cells was tested in the absence and presence of varying concentrations of bile acids. The data show that the endotoxin:bile acid interaction is not governed by Coulomb forces, rather a hydrophobic interaction takes place. This leads to an enhanced formation of the inherent cubic aggregate structures of the endotoxins, concomitant with a slight disaggregation, as evidenced by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Parallel to this, the addition of bile acids increased the bioactivity of lipid A and, to a lower degree, also that of the tested rough mutant LPS at lower concentrations of the endotoxin preparation, a finding similar as reported for the interaction of other agents such as hemoglobin. These data imply that there are general mechanisms that govern the expression of biological activities of endotoxins.
We report x-ray reflectivity and grazing incidence x-ray diffraction measurements of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) monolayers at the water-air interface. Our investigations reveal that the structure and lateral ordering of the LPS molecules is very different from phospholipid systems and can be modulated by the ionic strength of the aqueous subphase in an ion-dependent manner. Our findings also indicate differential effects of monovalent and divalent ions on the two-dimensional ordering of lipid domains. Na(+) ions interact unspecifically with LPS molecules based on their ability to efficiently screen the negative charges of the LPS molecules, whereas Ca(2+) ions interact specifically by cross-linking adjacent molecules in the monolayer. At low lateral pressures, Na(+) ions present in the subphase lead to a LPS monolayer structure ordered over large areas with high compressibility, nearly hexagonal packing of the hydrocarbon chains, and high density in the LPS headgroup region. At higher film pressures, the LPS monolayer becomes more rigid and results in a less perfect, oblique packing of the LPS hydrocarbon chains as well as a smaller lateral size of highly ordered domains on the monolayer. Furthermore, associated with the increased surface pressure, a conformational change of the sugar headgroups occurs, leading to a thickening of the entire LPS monolayer structure. The effect of Ca(2+) ions in the subphase is to increase the rigidity of the LPS monolayer, leading to an oblique packing of the hydrocarbon chains already at low film pressures, an upright orientation of the sugar moieties, and much smaller sizes of ordered domains in the plane of the monolayer. In the presence of both Na(+)- and Ca(2+) ions in the subphase, the screening effect of Na(+) is predominant at low film pressures, whereas, at higher film pressures, the structure and lateral organization of LPS molecules is governed by the influence of Ca(2+) ions. The unspecific charge-screening effect of the Na(+) ions on the conformation of the sugar moiety becomes less dominant at biologically relevant lateral pressures.
Bacterial endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides (LPS)) are strong elicitors of the human immune system by interacting with serum and membrane proteins such as lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and CD14 with high specificity. At LPS concentrations as low as 0.3 ng/ml, such interactions may lead to severe pathophysiological effects, including sepsis and septic shock. One approach to inhibit an uncontrolled inflammatory reaction is the use of appropriate polycationic and amphiphilic antimicrobial peptides, here called synthetic anti-LPS peptides (SALPs). We designed various SALP structures and investigated their ability to inhibit LPS-induced cytokine secretion in vitro, their protective effect in a mouse model of sepsis, and their cytotoxicity in physiological human cells. Using a variety of biophysical techniques, we investigated selected SALPs with considerable differences in their biological responses to characterize and understand the mechanism of LPS inactivation by SALPs. Our investigations show that neutralization of LPS by peptides is associated with a fluidization of the LPS acyl chains, a strong exothermic Coulomb interaction between the two compounds, and a drastic change of the LPS aggregate type from cubic into multilamellar, with an increase in the aggregate sizes, inhibiting the binding of LBP and other mammalian proteins to the endotoxin. At the same time, peptide binding to phospholipids of human origin (e.g., phosphatidylcholine) does not cause essential structural changes, such as changes in membrane fluidity and bilayer structure. The absence of cytotoxicity is explained by the high specificity of the interaction of the peptides with LPS.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) from Gram-negative bacteria are strong elicitors of the human immune systems. There is strong evidence that aggregates and not monomers of LPS play a decisive role at least in the initial stages of cell activation of immune cells such as mononuclear cells. In previous reports, it was shown that the biologically most active part of enterobacterial LPS, hexa-acyl bisphosphorylated lipid A, adopts a particular supramolecular conformation, a cubic aggregate structure. However, little is known about the size and morphology of these aggregates, regarding the fact that LPS may have strong variations in the length of the saccharide chains (various rough mutant and smooth-form LPS). Thus, in the present paper, several techniques for the determination of details of the aggregate morphology such as freeze-fracture and cryo-electron microscopy, analytical ultracentrifugation, laser backscattering analysis, and small-angle X-ray scattering were applied for various endotoxin (lipid A and different LPS) preparations. The data show a variety of different morphologies not only for different endotoxins but also when comparing different applied techniques. The data are interpreted with respect to the suitability of the single techniques, in particular on the basis of available literature data.
Systemic bacterial infections are associated with high mortality. The access of bacteria or constituents thereof to systemic circulation induces the massive release of immunomodulatory mediators, ultimately causing tissue hypoperfusion and multiple-organ failure despite adequate antibiotic treatment. Lipid A, the "endotoxic principle" of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is one of the major bacterial immunostimuli. Here we demonstrate the biological efficacy of rationally designed new synthetic antilipopolysaccharide peptides (SALPs) based on the Limulus anti-LPS factor for systemic application. We show efficient inhibition of LPS-induced cytokine release and protection from lethal septic shock in vivo, whereas cytotoxicity was not observed under physiologically relevant conditions and concentrations. The molecular mechanism of LPS neutralization was elucidated by biophysical techniques. The lipid A part of LPS is converted from its "endotoxic conformation," the cubic aggregate structure, into an inactive multilamellar structure, and the binding affinity of the peptide to LPS exceeds those of known LPS-binding proteins, such as LPS-binding protein (LBP). Our results thus delineate a novel therapeutic strategy for the clinical management of patients with septic shock.
An analysis of the interaction of the NK-lysin derived peptide NK-2 and of analogs thereof with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin) was performed to determine the most important biophysical parameters for an effective LPS neutralization. We used microcalorimetry, FTIR spectroscopy, Zeta potential measurements, and small-angle X-ray scattering to analyze the peptide:LPS binding enthalpy, the accessible LPS surface charge, the fluidity of the LPS hydrocarbon chains, their phase transition enthalpy change, the aggregate structure of LPS, and how these parameters are modulated by the peptides. We conclude that (i) a high peptide:LPS binding affinity, which is facilitated by electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions and which leads to a positive Zeta potential, (ii) the formation of peptide-enriched domains, which destabilize the lipid packing, demonstrated by a drastic decrease of phase transition enthalpy change of LPS, and (iii) the multilamellarization of the LPS aggregate structure are crucial for an effective endotoxin neutralization by cationic peptides.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS, endotoxins) are main constituents of the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria, with the endotoxic principle lipid A anchoring LPS into the membrane. When LPS is removed from the bacteria by the action of the immune system or simply by cell dividing, it may interact strongly with immunocompetent cells such as mononuclear cells. This interaction may lead, depending on the LPS concentration, to beneficial (at low) or pathophysiological (at high concentrations) reactions, the latter frequently causing the septic shock syndrome. There is a variety of endogenous LPS-binding proteins. To this class belong lactoferrin (LF) and hemoglobin (Hb), which have been shown to suppress and enhance the LPS-induced cytokine secretion in mononuclear cells, respectively. To elucidate the interaction mechanisms of endotoxins with these proteins, we have investigated in an infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (IRRAS) study the interaction of LPS or lipid A monolayers at the air/water interface with LF and Hb proteins, injected into the aqueous subphase. The data are clearly indicative of completely different interaction mechanisms of the endotoxins with the proteins, with the LF acting only at the LPS backbone, whereas Hb incorporates into the lipid monolayer. These data allow an understanding of the different reactivities in the biomedicinal systems.
The innate immune response provides a critical first-line defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an intracellular pathogen that represents a major health threat world-wide. A synthetic lipopeptide (LP) mimicking the lipid moiety of the cell-wall associated 19-kDa lipoprotein from M. tuberculosis has recently been assigned an important role in the induction of an antibacterial immune response in host macrophages. Here, we present experimental data on the biological activities and the biophysical mechanisms underlying cell activation by synthetic 19-kDa M. tuberculosis-derived lipopeptide (Mtb-LP). Investigation of the geometry of the LP (i.e. the molecular conformation and supramolecular aggregate structure) and the preference for membrane intercalation provide an explanation for the biological activities of the mycobacterial LP. Cell activation by low concentrations of Mtb-LP was enhanced by the lipopolysaccharide-binding protein and CD14. However, surprisingly, we found that activation of human macrophages to induce pro- as well as antiinflammatory mediators (tumor necrosis factor(TNF)-alpha, Interleukin(IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10) in response to the Mtb-LP is strongly reduced in the presence of serum. This observation could be confirmed for the immune response of murine macrophages which showed a strongly enhanced TNF-alpha release in the absence of serum, suggesting that the molecular mechanisms of immune recognition of the Mtb-LP are tailored to the ambient conditions of the lung.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS, endotoxins) belong to the strongest elicitors of the mammalian immune system due to the induction of a series of cytokines such as tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha (TNFalpha) in immunocompetent cells like mononuclear cells. Since the effects of LPS on human health may be pathologically at too high concentrations (e.g., septic shock syndrome), it is of uttermost importance to have a reliable assay for measuring the concentrations of endotoxins in vitro and in vivo (human body fluids). The activation of the clotting cascade from the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus), the Limulus amoebocyte lysate test (LAL), has been the standard and most sensitive assay to detect bacterial endotoxins. However, there are restrictions with this test. It was found in some clinical trials that the results from the LAL test did not correlate with the presence of bacteremia due to Gram-negative organisms or with the mortality but correlated with the presence of fungal bloodstream infections. This resulted from the fact that the LAL assay does not only respond to bacterial endotoxins but is activated also by (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan. Furthermore, in extensive studies the structural requirements for activation of the LAL test were analyzed, and it was found that the LAL activity correlated with pyrogenicity but not with activation of the complement cascade. Furthermore, there was no correlation of the LAL activity with cytokine expression (for example tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha and interleulkins-1 and 6) in mononuclear cells when the 4/2 acyl chain pattern of enterobacterial lipid A was changed, or when the cytokine production induced by LPS from various different species in the whole blood assay was compared with the response from the LAL test. To clarify the questions raised by the different experimental findings, data from literature are summarized to get a more closer insight where the Limulus test confidentially monitors the endotoxicity of LPS and other compounds and where this is not the case, and which are the decisive epitopes for recognition of the LPS molecules. These data are very crucial for example in clinical tests, whether the LAL assay can reliably describe the effectivity of an antibacterial therapy.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces the quorum signal 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone (Pseudomonas quinolone signal), which is important for stimulating outer membrane vesicle (MV) formation. Here we describe the importance of the 3-hydroxyl and 2-alkyl chain for MV production and the length of the 2-alkyl chain for association with MVs.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represent non-specific inhibitors of the cycloxygenase pathway of inflammation, and therefore an understanding of the interaction process of the drugs with membrane phospholipids is of high relevance. We have studied the interaction of the NSAIDs with phospholipid membranes made from dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) by applying Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Förster resonance energy transfer spectroscopy (FRET), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). FTIR data obtained via attenuated total reflectance (ATR) show that the interaction between DMPC and NSAIDs is limited to a strong interaction of the drugs with the phosphate region of the lipid head group. The FTIR transmission data furthermore are indicative of a strong effect of the drugs on the hydrocarbon chains inducing a reduction of the chain-chain interactions, i.e., a fluidization effect. Parallel to this, from the DSC data beside the decrease of T(m) a reduction of the peak height of the melting endotherm connected with its broadening is observed, but leaving the overall phase transition enthalpy constant. Additionally, phase separation is observed, inducing the formation of a NSAID-rich and a NSAID-poor phase. This is especially pronounced for Diclofenac. Despite the strong influence of the drugs on the acyl chain moiety, FRET data do not reveal any evidence for drug incorporation into the lipid matrix, and ITC measurements performed do not exhibit any heat production due to drug binding. This implies that the interaction process is governed by only entropic reactions at the lipid/water interface.
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