Biochimica et biophysica acta

Changes in lipid membrane mechanics induced by di- and tri-phenyltins.

PMID 28461050


Organotin compounds, being biologically active, affect a variety of cellular functions due to their ability to accumulate in and penetrate biological membranes. These compounds influence the distribution of electrostatic charges, alter organization, disrupt molecular dynamics and change mechanical properties of biological membranes. It was found that the membrane/water partition coefficient equals 4, a value significantly higher than octanol/water partition coefficient. In addition, the effect of di- and tri-phenyltin chlorides on the mechanics of model lipid membranes was measured for the first time. It has been determined that phenyltins affect the global model lipid bilayer properties by reducing the membrane expansion modulus, when measured using micromanipulation technique, and elevating the bending rigidity coefficient of the lipid bilayer, as determined with the flickering noise spectroscopy. In addition, the elevated water permeability shows that phenyltins also cause the local defects formation in the lipid bilayer, i.e. lipid pores. These data shows that phenyltins may interfere indirectly with variety cellular processes by altering non-specifically the entire cellular membrane system. Accordingly, when phenyltins are added to macrophages in culture, they inflict massive alterations of cell morphology and interfere with membrane-associated processes, as visualized using fluorescence labelling of selected subcellular compartments.