Biophysical Society Conference | Tahoe 2024

Molecular Biophysics of Membranes

Tuesday Speaker Abstracts

LIPID RESILIENCE: UNVEILING MEMBRANE RESCUE IN OXYGEN-DEPRIVED ENVIRONMENTS Maria Makarova 1 ; 1 University of Birmingham, Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, Birmingham, United Kingdom Membrane biophysical properties are critical to cell fitness and depend on phospholipids with various acyl tail compositions. Membrane phospholipids with unsaturated acyl tails are particularly critical since they form liquid-disordered phases, with high lateral diffusion and high membrane flexibility. Unsaturated acyl tails contain double bonds that require oxygen for their production in eukaryotic organisms. This raises the question of how cells maintain bilayer properties in environments with limited oxygen. Here, I will show that this can be accomplished by the incorporation of novel asymmetric phospholipids containing one long and one medium length fatty acid chain. I will show that the fission yeast, S. japonicus, which can grow in aerobic and anaerobic conditions, is capable of utilizing this strategy whereas its sister species, the well known model organism S. pombe, cannot.


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