Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Vladimir Sidorov


Abstract ACCURATE METHODOLOGY FOR MONITORING BIOMEMBRANE EVENTS By Christine A. Winschel, Ph.D. A Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2012 Major Director: Dr. Vladimir A. Sidorov ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY This study describes the synthesis and characterization of a new receptor (cyclen 1) capable of strong selective binding of pyrene-based anionic dyes under near-physiological conditions. This receptor comprises four naphthylthiourea groups tethered to a cyclen core via an ester linkage. The most important finding was the ability of cyclen 1 to bind efficiently to a pH-sensitive pyranine dye, a dye that is commonly used in various biomembrane assays. The high affinity of cyclen 1 to pyranine, its impermeability to the lipid bilayer membrane, fast kinetics of binding, and ability to quench pyranine’s fluorescence were used as a basis for a new membrane leakage assay. This membrane leakage assay is fully compatible with the commonly applied pH-stat transport assay, and therefore it allows for differentiation of ion transport and nonselective leakage mechanisms within a single set of experiments. In the second part of this study a new methodology for the detection of lipid flip was developed. This methodology relies on the quenching of the fluorescence of a newly synthesized cascade-blue-labeled lipid through complex formation with cyclen 1. This receptor-dye complexation also has high affinity for binding at micromolar concentrations and can be reversed by either competitive displacement of the lipid probe or by enzymatic degradation of the receptor leading to the label release and fluorescence dequenching. This new methodology is suitable for the study of lipid flip in both model spherical bilayer membranes and in-vitro experiments, and is less invasive to the model and cell membranes than the commonly utilized 7-nitro-1,2,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl (NBD)-dithionite methodology. Lastly, new pH-sensitive lipids were synthesized and utilized in the formulation of liposomes suitable for controlled drug release. These liposomes contain various amounts of internal NaCl and undergo internal acidification upon the exogenous addition of an HCl co-transporter in a physiologically relevant NaCl solution. Therefore, acidification ultimately leads to the hydrolysis of the pH-sensitive lipids and subsequent contents release. These liposomes were found to be insensitive to physiological concentrations of human serum albumin and to be non-toxic to cells at concentrations exceeding pharmacological relevance. These results render this new drug release model potentially suitable for in vivo applications.


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Date of Submission

August 2012

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Chemistry Commons