The Effect of Lipopolysaccharide Core Oligosaccharide Size on the Electrostatic Binding of Antimicrobial Proteins to Models of the Gram Negative Bacterial Outer Membrane.

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Journal Article
Langmuir, 2016, 32, (14), pp. 3485-3494
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Understanding the electrostatic interactions between bacterial membranes and exogenous proteins is crucial to designing effective antimicrobial agents against Gram-negative bacteria. Here we study, using neutron reflecometry under multiple isotopic contrast conditions, the role of the uncharged sugar groups in the outer core region of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in protecting the phosphate-rich inner core region from electrostatic interactions with antimicrobial proteins. Models of the asymmetric Gram negative outer membrane on silicon were prepared with phopshatidylcholine (PC) in the inner leaflet (closest to the silicon), whereas rough LPS was used to form the outer leaflet (facing the bulk solution). We show how salt concentration can be used to reversibly alter the binding affinity of a protein antibiotic colicin N (ColN) to the anionic LPS confirming that the interaction is electrostatic in nature. By examining the interaction of ColN with two rough LPS types with different-sized core oligosaccharide regions we demonstrate the role of uncharged sugars in blocking short-range electrostatic interactions between the cationic antibiotics and the vulnerable anionic phosphate groups.
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