Study of lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions in relation to the organization, structure and function of biological membranes

Team of work

Principal InvestigatorMaté

Maté, Sabina María


Vázquez, Romina FlorenciaVázquez


Longarzo, Lucrecia Longarzo

Research Fellow

Collaborators from other institutions

Muñoz-Garay, Carlos
Instituto de Cs. Físicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.

Oliveira Jr, Osvaldo N.
Instituto de Física de Sao Carlos, Universidad de San Pablo, Brasil.

Trostchansky, Andres
Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo - Uruguay.

Bakás, Laura
Centro de Investigación de Proteínas Vegetales (CIProVe) - CCT La Plata.

Bellini, Maria José
Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata (INIBIOLP) - CCT La Plata.

Daza-Millone, M. Antonieta
Instituto de Investigaciones Fisicoquímicas Teóricas y Aplicadas (INIFTA) - CCT La Plata.

Fanani, Laura
Centro de Investigaciones en Química Biológica de Córdoba (CIQUIBIC) - CCT La Plata.

Farina, Mariana
Centro de Estudios Farmacológicos y Botánicos (CEFYBO) - CCT La Plata.

Heras, Horacio
Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata (INIBIOLP) - CCT La Plata.

Morcelle, Susana
Centro de Investigación de Proteínas Vegetales (CIProVe) - CCT La Plata.

Vairo Cavalli, Sandra
Centro de Investigación de Proteínas Vegetales (CIProVe) - CCT La Plata.

Villa-Abrille, M. Celeste
Centro de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CIC) - CCT La Plata.

Line overview

The main objective of our line of work consists in the study of the lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions, determinants of the organization, structure and function of biological membranes. To develop the present line, traditional biophysical and biochemical methodologies are used as well as the more recent methodologies of development, such as atomic force microscope (AFM) and force spectroscopy (FS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), scale of Langmuir-Brewster angle microscopy (BAM) and polarization modulation-infrared reflection-adsorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS), among others. Finally, we develop and give relevant analytic and biophysical methods to research on lipids and membranes. We are eager to share our experience through collaborations with the scientific community.

Research projects

Our current lines of research are focused on problems related to:

• How lipids interact in model membranes systems and biological membranes to form, or not, laterally segregated domains.
• How the structure of a sphingomyelin determines its biophysical properties and affects the lipid-lipid interactions.
• The biological meaning of molecular heterogeneity of sphingolipids.
• The importance of the asymmetric composition of transmembrane lipids: which its effect in the structure and membrane properties is.
• How omega-3 fatty acids behave in membranes and how they interact with cholesterol and other lipids.
• Is there a relationship among the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, the properties of the membrane domains, and the localization and function of Na+/H+ exchanger in cardiac myocytes of hypertensive rats?
• Is there a relationship among the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, the properties of the membrane domains and the neuroinflammation in hypertensive rats?

Current collaborations

1- Membrane domains: lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions.

Together with Dr. Romina Vázquez and in collaboration with several national and international groups of work, we have been studying the structure and function of lipids domains enriched with cholesterol and sphingolipids. Our studies try to determine, in not only model membrane systems but also biological membranes, the basic principles that promote the formation of such domains and their biophysical properties, as well as the localization-partition-interaction of proteins with them.

2- Membrane asymmetry: methods for the formation of asymmetric membranes-effect on the formation and properties of membrane domains.

A key characteristic of biological membranes is its transversal asymmetry. The cell actively maintains an asymmetric lipid distribution with determined phospholipid classes mainly present in the outer hemilayer and others in the inner membrane hemilayer. Numerous cellular functions including signaling, apoptosis, thrombosis involve an alteration of this asymmetry which is also detected in pathological processes such as inflammation, neurodegenerative processes and cancer. The generation of asymmetric model membrane systems experimentally accessible constitute an important challenge in the field of the membrane biophysics and the main objective of this line of work. Together with the development of asymmetric models, we intend to study the asymmetry impact on the membrane properties, the role of the coupling between hemilayers in the domain formation and its possible role in the signaling, the importance of asymmetry in the interaction of proteins with membrane and in the function of membrane proteins, among others.

*Group directed by Dr. M. Elena Vela (INIFTA-CCT La Plata); Group directed by Dr. Laura Fanani (CIQUIBIC-CCT Córdoba); Group directed by Dr. Mariana Farina (CEFYBO-CONICET).

**Group directed by Dr. Félix M. Goñi (Universidad del País Vasco, España); Group directed by Dr. Osvaldo N. Oliveira Jr. (Instituto de Física de Sao Carlos, Universidad de San Pablo, Brasil); Group directed by Dr. Carlos Muñoz-Garay (Instituto de Cs. Físicas, UNAM, México); Group directed by Dr. Iván Ortega-Blake (Instituto de Cs. Físicas, UNAM, México).

3-Diet effect on lipid composition, biophysical properties and function of isolated cellular membranes of normotensive and hypertensive rats.

In our laboratory we also work with animal models, studying the effect of diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acids on the formation of membrane domain and the localization-function of membrane proteins within the context of cardiovascular (in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. M. Celeste Villa-Abrille, CIC, Conicet-CCT La Plata) and neurodegenerative diseases (in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. M. José Bellini, INIBIOLP, Conicet-CCT La Plata).

4-Interaction of bioactive molecules with biological membranes.

Molecules of diverse chemical structure and biological properties interact with the plasmatic membrane to exert their actions or they interact in an unspecific way when reaching the cellular surface. The study the interaction of these molecules (drugs, peptides, proteins, etc.) with model membrane systems enables the evaluation of its potential activity, selectivity, impact on membrane structure and properties, and so on. With different methodologies, we collaborate with different research groups in this type of studies involving surfactants of vegetal origin (in collaboration with Dr. Laura Bakás and Dr. Susana Morcelle del CiProVe, CIC-UNLP), bacterial toxins (in collaboration with Dr. Vanesa Herlax, INIBIOLP, Conicet-CCT La Plata), invertebrate toxins (in collaboration with Dr. Horacio Heras, INIBIOLP, Conicet-CCT La Plata), antimicrobial peptides (in collaboration with Dr. Sandra Vairo Cavalli del CiProVe, CIC-UNLP), antifungal lipoamino acids (in collaboration with Dr. Carlos Muñoz-Garay , Instituto de Cs. Físicas, UNAM, México), among others.

Prof. Dr. Sabina Maté
Ph.: 54 221 4824894 ext. 103
INIBIOLP (UNLP-CCT La Plata), calle 60 y 120 s/n, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Open posts
Available posts to perform dissertations and periodical fellowship applications for CIC, UNLP, CONICET.


Interaction of cationic surfactants with DPPC membranes: effect of a novel N α-benzoylated arginine-based compound.
Hermet, M.; Fait, M.E.; Vazquez, R.; Maté, S.; Daza Millone, M.A.; Vela, M.E.; García, M.T.; Morcelle, S.R.; Bakás, L.
2021. Amino acids. Berlin: SPRINGER,- . vol. 53, n° 4, p. 609-619. ISSN 0939-4451

Asymmetric bilayers mimicking membrane rafts prepared by lipid exchange: nanoscale characterization using AFM-Force spectroscopy.
Romina F. Vázquez; Erasmo Ovalle-García c; Armando Antillón c; Iván Ortega-Blake; Bakás, Laura S.; Carlos Muñoz Garay; Maté, Sabina M.
2021. Biochimica et biophysica acta-biomembranes. , Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV,- . ISSN 0005-2736

Anandamide regulates oxytocin/oxytocin receptor system in human placenta at term.
Accialini, Paula; Etcheverry, Tomás; Malbrán, Mercedes Negri; Leguizamón, Gustavo; Maté, Sabina; Farina, Mariana.
2020. Placenta: W B SAUNDERS CO LTD, vol. 93, p. 23-25. ISSN 0143-4004

Exaptation of two ancient immune proteins into a new dimeric pore-forming toxin in snails.
Giglio, M. L.; Ituarte, S.; Milesi, V.; Dreon, M.S.; Brola, T. R.; Caramelo, J.; Ip, J. C. H.; Maté, S.; Qiu, J. W.; Otero, L. H.; Heras, H.
2020. Journal of structural biology. Amsterdam: ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, vol. 211, n° 2, ISSN 1047-8477

Impact of sphingomyelin acyl chain (16:0 vs 24:1) on the interfacial properties of Langmuir monolayers: A PM-IRRAS study.
Romina F. Vázquez; M. Antonieta Daza Millone; Felippe J. Pavinatto; María L. Fanani; Osvaldo N. Oliveira Jr; María E. Vela; Sabina M. Maté.
2019: Colloids and surfaces b-biointerfaces. Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 173.

Phase-segregated Membrane Model assessed by a combined SPR-AFM Approach.
Daza Millone, M. A; Vázquez, R. F; Maté, S. M; Vela, M. E.
2018. Colloids and surfaces b-biointerfaces. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 172, p. 423-429. ISSN 0927-7765

Dynamic regulation of extracellular ATP in Escherichia coli.
Álvarez, C. L; Corradi, G; Lauri, N; Marginedas-Freixa, I; Denis, M. F. L; Enrique, N; Mate, S. M; Milesi, V; Ostuni, M. A; Herlax, V; Schwarzbaum, P. J.
2017. Biochemical journal. England: PORTLAND PRESS LTD. vol. 474, n° 8, p. 1395-1416. ISSN 0264-6021

Interaction of acylated and unacylated forms of E. coli alpha-hemolysin with lipid monolayers: a PM-IRRAS study.
Vázquez, R. F; Daza Millone, M. A; Pavinatto, F. J; Herlax, V. S; Bakás, L. S; Oliveira Jr, O. N; Vela, M. E; Maté, S. M.
2017. Colloids and surfaces b-biointerfaces. Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV. vol. 158, p. 76-83. ISSN 0927-7765

Relationship between intracellular calcium and morphologic changes in rabbit erythrocytes: Effects of the acylated and unacylated forms of E. coli alpha-hemolysin.
Vazquez, R; Mate, S; Bakas, L; Garcia Muñoz, C; Herlax, V.
2016. Biochimica et biophysica acta-biomembranes, Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 1858, n° 8, p. 1944-1953. ISSN 0005-2736

The unfavorable lipid environment reduced caveolin-1 expression in apical membranes from humanpreeclamptic placentas.
Levi, L; Castro Parodi, M; Martínez, N; Piehl, L; Rubín De Celis, E; Herlax, V; Mate, S; Farina, M; Damiano, A. E.
2016. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes. Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 1858, n° 9, p. 2171-2180. ISSN 0005-2736

Induction of eryptosis by low concentrations of E. coli alpha-hemolysin.
Carrizo, F; Maté, S; Bakás, L; Herlax, V.
2015. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes. Amsterdam: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 1848, p. 2779-2788. ISSN 0005-2736

Boundary region between coexisting lipid phases as initial binding sites for Escherichia coli alpha-hemolysin: a real-time study.
Maté, S; Vázquez, R; Herlax, V; Daza-Millone, M, A; Fanani, M. L; Maggio, B; Vela, M. E; Bakás, L.
2014. Biochimica et Biophysica acta-Biomembranes: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, vol. 1838, p. 1832-1841. ISSN 0005-2736

N-nervonoylsphingomyelin (c24:1) prevents lateral heterogeneity in cholesterol-containing membranes.
Maté, S; Busto, J; García-Arribas, A; Sot, J; Vázquez, R; Herlax, V; Wolf, C; Bakás, L; Goñi, F. M.
2014. Biophysical Journal. United States: CELL PRESS,. vol. 106, p. 2606-2616. ISSN 0006-3495

Novel evidence for the specific interaction between cholesterol and alpha- haemolysin of Escherichia coli.
Vázquez, R. F; Maté, S. M; Bakás, L, S; Fernández, M. M; Malchiodi, E. L; Herlax, V. S.
2014. Biochemical Journal. Londres: PORTLAND PRESS LTD, vol. 458, n° 3, p. 481-489. ISSN 0264-6021

Mecanismo de acción de la toxina alfa hemolisina de Escherichia Coli.
Bakás, L; Maté, S; Vázquez, R; Herlax, V.
2013. Acta bioquímica clínica latinoamericana. La Plata: Federación BioquímicaProvincia Buenos Aires. Vol. 47, n° 2, p. 353-361. ISSN 0325-2957

E.coli Alpha Hemolysin and properties.
Bakás, L; Maté, S; Vazquez, R; Herlax, V.
2012. Biochemistry, BooK I, Ed. Prof. Deniz Ekinci, Croacia.
DOI: 10.5772/33383

Relevance of fatty acid covalently bound to Escherichia coli alpha-Hemolysin and membrane microdomains in the oligomerization process.
Herlax, V; Maté, S; Rimoldi, O; Bakas, L.
2009. Journal of Biological Chemistry. Amer Soc Biochemistry Molecular Biology, Inc, vol. 284, p. 25199-25210

Alfa- Hemolisina de Escherichia coli: Prototipo de las toxinas RTX (Repeat in Toxin). Un estudio de las etapas de su mecanismo de acción.
Vázquez, R; Maté, S; Herlax, V; Bakás, L; Álvarez Valcárcel, C; Pazos Santos, F.
2016. Puebla: Benemérita Universidad Autónoma De Puebla, p. 191-213. ISBN 978-607-525-046-5

Role of sphingomyelin in membrane-domain formation and the influence on protein interaction: focusing on the nanometer scale.
Maté, S; Herlax, V; Vázquez, R; Bakás, L.
2016. Nueva York: NovaScience Publishers, p. 89-112. ISBN 978-1-63484-581-6

E. coli Alpha Hemolysin and Properties.
Bakás, L; Maté, S; Vázquez, R; Herlax, V.
2012. InTech, p. 107-140. ISBN 978-953-51-0076-8

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