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How different sterols contribute to saponin tolerant plasma membranes in sea cucumbers
Claereboudt, E.J.S.; Eeckhaut, I.; Lins, L.; Deleu, M. (2018). How different sterols contribute to saponin tolerant plasma membranes in sea cucumbers. NPG Scientific Reports 8(1): 11 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Claereboudt, E.J.S., meer
  • Eeckhaut, I., meer
  • Lins, L.
  • Deleu, M.

    Sea cucumbers produce saponins as a chemical defense mechanism, however their cells can tolerate the cytotoxic nature of these chemicals. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind this tolerance a suite of complementary biophysical tools was used, firstly using liposomes for in vitro techniques then using in silico approaches for a molecular-level insight. The holothuroid saponin Frondoside A, caused significantly less permeabilization in liposomes containing a Δ7 holothuroid sterol than those containing cholesterol and resulted in endothermic interactions versus exothermic interactions with cholesterol containing liposomes. Lipid phases simulations revealed that Frondoside A has an agglomerating effect on cholesterol domains, however, induced small irregular Δ7 sterol clusters. Our results suggest that the structural peculiarities of holothuroid sterols provide sea cucumbers with a mechanism to mitigate the sterol-agglomerating effect of saponins, and therefore to protect their cells from the cytotoxicity of the saponins they produce.

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