Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 1860 (12) 2644-2654 [2018-12-00; online 2018-10-05]
Mitochondria are crucially involved in the removal of eukaryotic cells by the intrinsic pathway of programmed cell death (apoptosis). The mitochondrion's outer membrane (MOM) is the platform where this pathway takes place. Upon oxidative stress triggering apoptotic action, the MOM undergoes permeabilization and release of cytochrome c, ultimately causing cell death. This membrane perforation is regulated not only by opposing members of the Bcl-2 protein family meeting at the MOM but also actively the membrane itself. Upon oxidative damage, the membrane undergoes severe reorganization causing an increase in cell death-causing apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. To understand the active role of MOM, we provided a detailed molecular view of its structural and dynamic reorganization upon oxidative stress by solid-state 13C MAS NMR (magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance) accompanied by calorimetric studies. By focusing on MOM-like vesicles doped with oxidized lipid species, direct polarization 13C MAS NMR provided a quantitative overview and identification of all lipid moieties across the membrane. 1H-13C cross polarization and insensitive nuclei enhanced by polarization transfer MAS NMR generated a dynamic - mobile versus restricted - membrane profile. Oxidized phospholipids significantly perturb the structural membrane organization and increase membrane dynamics. These perturbations are not uniformly distributed as the hydrophobic core is reflecting the melting of lipid chains and increase in molecular disorder directly, whereas the interface and headgroup region undergo complex dynamical changes, reflecting increased intra-molecular flexibility of these moieties. These changes are potentially crucial in augmenting pro-apoptotic action of proteins like Bax.