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Photosensitized Membrane Permeabilization Requires Contact-Dependent Reactions between Photosensitizer and Lipids

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journal contribution
posted on 10.07.2018, 00:00 by Isabel O. L. Bacellar, Maria Cecilia Oliveira, Lucas S. Dantas, Elierge B. Costa, Helena C. Junqueira, Waleska K. Martins, Andrés M. Durantini, Gonzalo Cosa, Paolo Di Mascio, Mark Wainwright, Ronei Miotto, Rodrigo M. Cordeiro, Sayuri Miyamoto, Mauricio S. Baptista
Although the general mechanisms of lipid oxidation are known, the chemical steps through which photosensitizers and light permeabilize lipid membranes are still poorly understood. Herein we characterized the products of lipid photooxidation and their effects on lipid bilayers, also giving insight into their formation pathways. Our experimental system was designed to allow two phenothiazinium-based photosensitizers (methylene blue, MB, and DO15) to deliver the same amount of singlet oxygen molecules per second to 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine liposome membranes, but with a substantial difference in terms of the extent of direct physical contact with lipid double bonds; that is, DO15 has a 27-times higher colocalization with ω-9 lipid double bonds than MB. Under this condition, DO15 permeabilizes membranes at least 1 order of magnitude more efficiently than MB, a result that was also valid for liposomes made of polyunsaturated lipids. Quantification of reaction products uncovered a mixture of phospholipid hydroperoxides, alcohols, ketones, and aldehydes. Although both photosensitizers allowed the formation of hydroperoxides, the oxidized products that require direct reactions between photosensitizer and lipids were more prevalent in liposomes oxidized by DO15. Membrane permeabilization was always connected with the presence of lipid aldehydes, which cause a substantial decrease in the Gibbs free energy barrier for water permeation. Processes depending on direct contact between photosensitizers and lipids were revealed to be essential for the progress of lipid oxidation and consequently for aldehyde formation, providing a molecular-level explanation of why membrane binding correlates so well with the cell-killing efficiency of photosensitizers.