Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an essential biomacromolecule making up approximately 50% of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. LPS chemistry facilitates cellular barrier and permeability functions and mediates interactions between the cell and its environment. To better understand the local interactions within LPS membranes, the monolayer film behavior of LPS extracted from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen of medical importance, was investigated by Langmuir film balance. LPS formed stable monolayers at the air-water interface and the measured lateral stresses and modulus (rigidity) of the LPS film in the compressed monolayer region were found to be appreciable. Scaling theories for two-dimensional (2D) polymer chain conformations were used to describe the π-A profile, in particular, the high lateral stress region suggested that the polysaccharide segments reside at the 2D air-water interface. Although the addition of monovalent and divalent salts caused LPS molecules to adopt a compact conformation at the air-water interface, they did not appear to have any influence on the modulus (rigidity) of the LPS monolayer film under biologically relevant stressed conditions. With increasing divalent salt (CaC12) content in the subphase, however, there is a progressive reduction of the LPS monolayer's collapse pressure, signifying that, at high concentrations, divalent salts weaken the ability of the membrane to withstand elevated stress. Finally, based on the measured viscoelastic response of the LPS films, we hypothesize that this property of LPS-rich outer membranes of bacteria permits the deformation of the membrane and may consequently protect bacteria from catastrophic structural failure when under mechanical-stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry