Lipid-peptide interactions in cell membranes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


Knowledge of the interaction of membrane peptides with the lipids comprising the membrane is crucial to understanding both the mechanism by which they enter the membrane and their function. The membrane composition plays an important role in its interaction with a peptide; for example, some proteins interact specifically with particular lipid headgroups. This project will probe the interaction of antimicrobial peptides and bacterial membrane proteins with model cell membranes formed from bilayers of various phospholipids, sphingolipids and cholesterol, designed to mimic mammalian and bacterial cell membranes.
This project will employ a range of physical probes, including spectroscopic, imaging and reflectometry methods. Penetration of the bilayer by a peptide can be followed with electrochemical measurements and an electric field can also be applied across an electrode-supported bilayer to mimic the effects of potential gradients and charge asymmetry across the membrane. The physical probes employed can all be carried out in the presence of the applied field to determine its effect on membrane organisation. Focus will be on the effect of composition on peptide incorporation with a view to understanding how and why peptides interact selectively with bacterial or mammalian cell membranes. This will develop a molecular-level understanding of the interactions and the knowledge generated will further understanding of the reasons behind the selectivity and better predict or design peptides with potential application as therapeutic agents.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1644236 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 05/10/2015 30/09/2019 Alexandra Martin