PhD defense by Guillermo S. Moreno Pescador

Membrane protein dynamics studied with optical and thermoplasmonic methods in complex and simple membranes

Abstract: Different types of membrane proteins respond to changes in membrane curvature and to lipid phases found in plasma membranes. Giant plasma membrane vesicles derived from transfected cells facilitate the analysis to be performed in a biological membrane with properly folded proteins that possess the correct membrane topology. Nanoscale membrane curvatures can be generated by extracting nanotubes from these vesicles by using an optical trap. These native plasma membranes provide a quantitative platform for studying isolated cell membranes or extracellular vesicles, allowing for the investigation of membrane proteins. Two biologically relevant proteins, namely neuraminidase and annexin, constitute the main subject of this study, which has the overall goal of investigating and understanding the effect of curvature and bending on the dynamics of certain membrane remodeling-capable proteins. Moreover, this study shows how controlled fusion of artificial bilayers and giant plasma membrane vesicles can be successfully carried out using thermoplasmonics, therefore opening up an avenue of new possibilities for studying dynamics of membrane proteins.