How Photoswitchable Lipids Affect the Order and Dynamics of Lipid Bilayers and Embedded Proteins

Mahmoudreza Doroudgar, Johannes Morstein, Johanna Becker-Baldus, Dirk Trauner, Clemens Glaubitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Altering the properties of phospholipid membranes by light is an attractive option for the noninvasive manipulation of membrane proteins and cellular functions. Lipids with an azobenzene group within their acyl chains such as AzoPC are suitable tools for manipulating lipid order and dynamics through a light-inducedtrans-to-cisisomerization. However, the action of these photoswitchable lipids at the atomic level is still poorly understood. Here, liposomes containing AzoPC, POPE, and POPG have been characterized by solid-state NMR through chemical shift and dipolar CH order parameter measurements. Upon UV-light illumination, an efficienttrans-to-cisconversion can be achieved resulting in a localized reduction of the CH order parameter within the bulk lipid acyl chains. This effect is even more pronounced in liposomes containing the integral membrane proteinE. colidiacylglycerol kinase. The protein responds to the light-inducedtrans-to-cisisomerization by a site-specific increase in the molecular dynamics as observed by altered cross peak intensities in NCA spectra. This study represents a proof-of-concept demonstration for the use of photoswitchable lipids to modulate membrane properties by light for inducing dynamic changes within an embedded membrane protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9515-9528
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 30 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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