How a fungus escapes the water to grow into the air. (1/666)

Fungi are well known to the casual observer for producing water-repelling aerial moulds and elaborate fruiting bodies such as mushrooms and polypores. Filamentous fungi colonize moist substrates (such as wood) and have to breach the water-air interface to grow into the air. Animals and plants breach this interface by mechanical force. Here, we show that a filamentous fungus such as Schizophyllum commune first has to reduce the water surface tension before its hyphae can escape the aqueous phase to form aerial structures such as aerial hyphae or fruiting bodies. The large drop in surface tension (from 72 to 24 mJ m-2) results from self-assembly of a secreted hydrophobin (SC3) into a stable amphipathic protein film at the water-air interface. Other, but not all, surface-active molecules (that is, other class I hydrophobins and streptofactin from Streptomyces tendae) can substitute for SC3 in the medium. This demonstrates that hydrophobins not only have a function at the hyphal surface but also at the medium-air interface, which explains why fungi secrete large amounts of hydrophobin into their aqueous surroundings.  (+info)

Surface-induced polymerization of actin. (2/666)

Living cells contain a very large amount of membrane surface area, which potentially influences the direction, the kinetics, and the localization of biochemical reactions. This paper quantitatively evaluates the possibility that a lipid monolayer can adsorb actin from a nonpolymerizing solution, induce its polymerization, and form a 2D network of individual actin filaments, in conditions that forbid bulk polymerization. G- and F-actin solutions were studied beneath saturated Langmuir monolayers containing phosphatidylcholine (PC, neutral) and stearylamine (SA, a positively charged surfactant) at PC:SA = 3:1 molar ratio. Ellipsometry, tensiometry, shear elastic measurements, electron microscopy, and dark-field light microscopy were used to characterize the adsorption kinetics and the interfacial polymerization of actin. In all cases studied, actin follows a monoexponential reaction-limited adsorption with similar time constants (approximately 10(3) s). At a longer time scale the shear elasticity of the monomeric actin adsorbate increases only in the presence of lipids, to a 2D shear elastic modulus of mu approximately 30 mN/m, indicating the formation of a structure coupled to the monolayer. Electron microscopy shows the formation of a 2D network of actin filaments at the PC:SA surface, and several arguments strongly suggest that this network is indeed causing the observed elasticity. Adsorption of F-actin to PC:SA leads more quickly to a slightly more rigid interface with a modulus of mu approximately 50 mN/m.  (+info)

A study of local anaesthetics. Part 148. Influence of auxiliary substances on the surface tension, distribution coefficient and pharmaceutical availability from solutions of the potential drug VII. (3/666)

The influence of auxiliary substances of the polyol group (glycerol, propylene glycol, sorbitol) and of their concentration (5, 10, 15 and 20% by weight) upon surface tension, distribution coefficient and pharmaceutical availability from solutions of the potential drug VII, viz., N-[2-(2-propoxyphenylcarbamoyloxy)-ethyl] piperidinium chloride was studied. The substances were applied as hydrogel humectants. It was found that their influence on the surface tension, distribution coefficient and pharmaceutical availability from solutions of the potential drug VII depended on the type as well as concentration of the auxiliary substance. From the viewpoints of use in formulations of the drug form, sorbitol used at 5 and 10% concentrations represented the optimum.  (+info)

Simulation study of a gramicidin/lipid bilayer system in excess water and lipid. I. Structure of the molecular complex. (4/666)

This paper reports on a simulation of a gramicidin channel inserted into a fluid phase DMPC bilayer with 100 lipid molecules. Two lipid molecules per leaflet were removed to insert the gramicidin, so the resulting preparation had 96 lipid molecules and 3209 water molecules. Constant surface tension boundary conditions were employed. Like previous simulations with a lower lipid/gramicidin ratio (Woolf, T. B., and B. Roux. 1996. Proteins: Struct., Funct., Genet. 24:92-114), it is found that tryptophan-water hydrogen bonds are more common than tryptophan-phospholipid hydrogen bonds. However, one of the tryptophan NH groups entered into an unusually long-lived hydrogen bonding pattern with two glycerol oxygens of one of the phospholipid molecules. Comparisons were made between the behavior of the lipids adjacent to the channel with those farther away. It was found that hydrocarbon chains of lipids adjacent to the channel had higher-order parameters than those farther away. The thickness of the lipid bilayer immediately adjacent to the channel was greater than it was farther away. In general, the lipids adjacent to the membrane had similar orientations to those seen by Woolf and Roux, while those farther away had similar orientations to those pertaining before the insertion of the gramicidin. A corollary to this observation is that the thickness of the hydrocarbon region adjacent to the gramicidin was much thicker than what other studies have identified as the "hydrophobic length" of the gramicidin channel.  (+info)

Biophysical characterization and modeling of lung surfactant components. (5/666)

The present study characterizes the dynamic interfacial properties of calf lung surfactant (CLS) and samples reconstituted in a stepwise fashion from phospholipid (PL), hydrophobic apoprotein (HA), surfactant apoprotein A (SP-A), and neutral lipid fractions. Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), the major PL component of surfactant, was examined for comparison. Surface tension was measured over a range of oscillation frequencies (1-100 cycles/min) and bulk phase concentrations (0.01-1 mg/ml) by using a pulsating bubble surfactometer. Distinct differences in behavior were seen between samples. These differences were interpreted by using a previously validated model of surfactant adsorption kinetics that describes function in terms of 1) adsorption rate coefficient (k1), 2) desorption rate coefficient (k2), 3) minimum equilibrium surface tension (gamma*), 4) minimum surface tension at film collapse (gammamin), and 5) change in surface tension with interfacial area for gamma < gamma* (m2). Results show that DPPC and PL have k1 and k2 values several orders of magnitude lower than CLS. PL had a gammamin of 19-20 dyn/cm, significantly greater than CLS (nearly zero). Addition of the HA to PL restored dynamic interfacial behavior to nearly that of CLS. However, m2 remained at a reduced level. Addition of the SP-A to PL + HA restored m2 to a level similar to that of CLS. No further improvement in function occurred with the addition of the neutral lipid. These results support prior studies that show addition of HA to the PL markedly increases adsorption and film stability. However, SP-A is required to completely normalize dynamic behavior.  (+info)

Polymersomes: tough vesicles made from diblock copolymers. (6/666)

Vesicles were made from amphiphilic diblock copolymers and characterized by micromanipulation. The average molecular weight of the specific polymer studied, polyethyleneoxide-polyethylethylene (EO40-EE37), is several times greater than that of typical phospholipids in natural membranes. Both the membrane bending and area expansion moduli of electroformed polymersomes (polymer-based liposomes) fell within the range of lipid membrane measurements, but the giant polymersomes proved to be almost an order of magnitude tougher and sustained far greater areal strain before rupture. The polymersome membrane was also at least 10 times less permeable to water than common phospholipid bilayers. The results suggest a new class of synthetic thin-shelled capsules based on block copolymer chemistry.  (+info)

Enhancement of solubilization and biodegradation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons by the bioemulsifier alasan. (7/666)

Alasan, a high-molecular-weight bioemulsifier complex of an anionic polysaccharide and proteins that is produced by Acinetobacter radioresistens KA53 (S. Navon-Venezia, Z. Zosim, A. Gottlieb, R. Legmann, S. Carmeli, E. Z. Ron, and E. Rosenberg, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:3240-3244, 1995), enhanced the aqueous solubility and biodegradation rates of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In the presence of 500 microg of alasan ml-1, the apparent aqueous solubilities of phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were increased 6.6-, 25.7-, and 19.8-fold, respectively. Physicochemical characterization of the solubilization activity suggested that alasan solubilizes PAHs by a physical interaction, most likely of a hydrophobic nature, and that this interaction is slowly reversible. Moreover, the increase in apparent aqueous solubility of PAHs does not depend on the conformation of alasan and is not affected by the formation of multimolecular aggregates of alasan above its saturation concentration. The presence of alasan more than doubled the rate of [14C]fluoranthene mineralization and significantly increased the rate of [14C]phenanthrene mineralization by Sphingomonas paucimobilis EPA505. The results suggest that alasan-enhanced solubility of hydrophobic compounds has potential applications in bioremediation.  (+info)

Effect of ionic strength on the interfacial properties of cytochrome c. (8/666)

The surface tension behaviour of oxidised cytochrome c (cyt c) solution was characterised at various pH and ionic strength at the air/water interface. The pendant drop method employing digital image analysis of the drop shape was applied to the measurement of the surface tension. The adsorption properties of cyt c were utilised to study the protein conformation change effected by acidification and ionic strength. At high ionic strength, the saturated steady-state surface tension shows a cooperative change centred around 3.6 induced by a decrease in pH. Using spectroscopic experiments, the apparent pK of the acid-induced transition of horse cyt c from the native to the molten globular state is equal to 3.5. This fact indicates that the saturated steady-state surface tension is a parameter which might be used to monitor conformation changes of cyt c.  (+info)