Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and spin labels are very importante tools for the study of the dynamic structure of biologically-relevant membranes. Changes in the organization of lipids induced by diverse agents, such as temperature and/or binding of low-molecular mass compounds, peptides, and proteins, can also be conveniently monitored by EPR. Furthermore, quantitative analysis can be achieved by the use of spectral simulations routines based on the Stochastic Liouville theory along with models for the lipid dynamics developed by Freed and co-workers. It has also proved interesting to add to EPR techniques a measure of a global quantity, such as the heat exchanged in thermal events, that give information about the processes mentioned above but now within a thermodynamic perspective. In the present project, we intend to use those methods to investigate the interaction between copper metal complexes, which have pharmacological interest, with lipid membranes. The project is a follow-up of a very productive collaboration between our group and Prof. Maria Torre's group (Universidad de La Republica, Uruguay), in which Prof. Torre has been synthesizing new metal transition compounds, in particular Cu(II), to use as pro-drugs. Hence, we will use metal complexes that have presented some pharmacological activity to study how those complexes go through the membrane of the cell they had activity against. This is a very basic issue that can certainly gain from detailed studies focused on a molecular description of the process.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: