Fluidizing the membrane by a local anesthetic: Phenylethanol affects membrane protein oligomerization.
Journal - Journal of molecular biology
The exact mechanism of action of anesthetics is still an open question. While some observations suggest specific anesthetic-protein interactions, a nonspecific perturbation of the lipid bilayer has also been suggested. Perturbations of the bilayer properties could subsequently affect the structure and function of membrane proteins. Addition of the local anesthetic phenylethanol to model membranes as well as to the intact E. coli cells not only affected the membrane fluidity but also severely altered defined helix-helix interaction within the membrane. This experimental observation suggests that certain anesthesia modulate the membrane physical properties and thereby indirectly affect transmembrane helix-helix interactions, which are not only involved in membrane protein folding and assembly, but are also important for transmembrane signaling.Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.