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Glycolipid cholesterol interactions: towards an understanding of mechanisms of lipid raft formation

Final Activity Report Summary - GLYCHOL (Glycolipid Cholesterol interactions: Towards an understanding of mechanisms of lipid raft formation)

The main goal of this project was to elucidate atom level interactions between lipids involved in formations of microdomains called rafts present in cellular membranes. Rafts are composed mainly of sphingolipids, glycolipids and cholesterol and are involved in numerous cellular functions. In order to do this in series of molecular dynamics simulations of rafts components were performed.

According to the schedule of the project simulations of systems composed of: 1) simple glycerol based glycolipids, 2) sphingosine based glycolipids 3) glycolipids with cholesterol, and 4) cholesterol and other sterol were performed. These simulations also included numerous methodological tests. Deviation from the original schedule was minor, mainly due to more extensive studies of the 4 points listed above.

The results of this work were published in 14 publications in key journals like Physical Review Letters, Biophysical Journal and Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 5 manuscripts are submitted and 2 more will be prepared.

Results obtained during the course of this project are highly relevant to both basic and applied sciences. They describe basic interactions in lipid bilayers and provide the first unique data about the specificity of glycolipids and the interaction of glycolipids with cholesterol. The part of the research concerning the cholesterol precursors is of medical importance. It should be stressed that this research attracted the direct interest of the pharmacological industry.