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© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. Intracellular accumulation of Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins and the disaccharide trehalose is associated with cellular desiccation tolerance in a number of animal species. Two LEA proteins from anhydrobiotic embryos of the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana were tested for the ability to protect liposomes of various compositions against desiccation-induced damage in the presence and absence of trehalose. Damage was assessed by carboxyfluorescein leakage after drying and rehydration. Further, using a cytoplasmic-localized (AfrLEA2) and a mitochondrial-targeted (AfrLEA3m) LEA protein allowed us to evaluate whether each may preferentially stabilize membranes of a particular lipid composition based on the protein's subcellular location. Both LEA proteins were able to offset damage during drying of liposomes that mimicked the lipid compositions of the inner mitochondrial membrane (with cardiolipin), outer mitochondrial membrane, and the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. Thus liposome stabilization by AfrLEA3m or AfrLEA2 was not dependent on lipid composition, provided physiological amounts of bilayer and non-bilayer-forming lipids were present (liposomes with a non-biological composition of 100% phosphatidylcholine were not protected by either protein). Additive protection by LEA proteins plus trehalose was dependent on the lipid composition of the target membrane. Minimal additional damage occurred to liposomes stored at room temperature in the dried state for one week compared to liposomes rehydrated after 24 h. Consistent with the ability to stabilize lipid bilayers, molecular modeling of the secondary structures for AfrLEA2 and AfrLEA3m revealed bands of charged amino acids similar to other amphipathic proteins that interact directly with membranes.

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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes

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