Cheng, C.-Y., et al., An ultrasensitive tool exploiting hydration dynamics to decipher weak lipid membrane-polymer interactions. J. Magn. Reson., 2012. 215(0): p. 115-119.
We introduce a newly developed tool, 1H Overhauser Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (ODNP), to sensitively explore weak macromolecular interactions by site-specifically probing the modulation of the translational dynamics of hydration water at the interaction interface, in the full presence of bulk water. Here, ODNP is employed on an illustrative example of a membrane-active triblock copolymer, poloxamer 188 (P188), which is known to restore the integrity of structurally compromised cell membranes. We observe a distinct change in the translational dynamics of the hydration layer interacting with the lipid membrane surface and the bilayer-interior as P188 is added to a solution of lipid vesicles, but no measurable changes in the dynamics or structure of the lipid membranes. This study shows that hydration water is an integral constituent of a lipid membrane system, and demonstrates for the first time that the modulation of its translational diffusivity can sensitively report on weak polymer‚Äìmembrane interactions, as well as mediate essential lipid membrane functions. ODNP holds much promise as a unique tool to unravel molecular interactions at interfaces even in the presence of bulk water under ambient conditions.