Myelin figures from microbial glycolipid biosurfactant amphiphiles


Myelin figures from microbial glycolipid biosurfactant amphiphiles, Debdyuti Roy, Vincent Chaleix, Atul N. Parikh, Niki Baccile* Journal of Surfactants and Detergents , in press, 2024

Myelin figures (MFs) – cylindrical lyotropic liquid crystalline structures consisting of concentric arrays of bilayers and aqueous media – arise from the hydration of the bulk lamellar phase of many common amphiphiles. Prior efforts have concentrated on the formation, structure, and dynamics of myelin produced by phosphatidylcholine (PC)-based amphiphiles. Here, we study the myelinization of glycolipid microbial amphiphiles, commonly addressed as biosurfactants, produced through the process of fermentation. The hydration characteristics (and phase diagrams) of these biological amphiphiles are atypical (and thus their capacity to form myelin) because unlike typical amphiphiles, their molecular structure is characterized by two hydrophilic groups (sugar, carboxylic acid) on both ends with a hydrophobic moiety in the middle. We tested three different glycolipid molecules: C18:1 sophorolipids and single-glucose C18:1 and C18:0 glucolipids, all in their nonacetylated acidic form. Neither sophorolipids (too soluble) nor C18:0 glucolipids (too insoluble) displayed myelin growth at room temperature (RT, 25 ֯C). The glucolipid C18:1 (G-C18:1), on the other hand, showed dense myelin growth at RT below pH 7.0. Examining their growth rates, we find that they display a linear L α t (L, myelin length; t, time) growth rate, suggesting ballistic growth, distinctly different from the L α t^(1/2) dependence, characterizing diffusive growth such as what occurs in more conventional phospholipids. These results offer some insight into lipidic mesophases arising from a previously unexplored class of amphiphiles with potential applications in the field of drug delivery.