Biomembranes: structure and function

Maria João Moreno

Maria Joao Moreno photo
Assistant Professor
Ph: 239 854 481
Email: mmoreno@ci.uc.pt
Resume CV

Graduation in Biochemistry by the Universidade de Lisboa in 1990

PhD in Biochemistry by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in 2000

Post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, in the laboratory of Professor Raoul Kopelman, September 2000 to December 2001

Assistant at the Universidade do Algarve from December 1995 to December 1998

Assistant at the Universidade de Coimbra from January 2000 to Jun 2002

Assistant Professor at the Universidade de Coimbra, from Jully 2002 to present date

Main Interests

The equilibrium distribution of drug-like molecules in the blood and their rate of permeation through hydrophobic biological barriers has been the major subject of research in my research group during the last decade. With this goal we have been performing several studies, mostly using liposomes as model systems for the biological membranes. More recently, the in vitro systems used have increased significantly in their complexity, approaching the properties of the in vivo relevant systems. This includes the use of native membranes (those including membrane proteins such as the efflux pump P-glycoprotein), as well as permeability assays using cell monolayers.

The ultimate goal of this research is to identify rules that govern permeation of small molecules through biological membranes. This study is of high relevance in Pharmacological and Medical Sciences (in the optimization of the absorption and pharmacokinetics of amphiphilic drugs, as well as in the development of strategies to overcome drug resistance mediated by efflux transporters) and also in Biology and Biochemistry (understanding of cell and tissue homeostasis).

Selected Publications

Filipe, H. A. L.; Javanainen, M.; Salvador, A.; Galvão, A. M.; Vattulainen, I.; Loura, L. M. S.; Moreno, M. J., Quantitative Assessment of Methods Used To Obtain Rate Constants from Molecular Dynamics Simulations—Translocation of Cholesterol across Lipid Bilayers; J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2018, 14 (7), 3840-3848. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00150.

Samelo, J.; Mora, M. J.; Granero, G. E.; Moreno, M. J., Partition of Amphiphilic Molecules to Lipid Bilayers by ITC: Low-Affinity Solutes. ACS Omega 2017, 2 (10), 6863-6869. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01145.

Coreta-Gomes, F. M.; Vaz, W. L. C.; Wasielewski, E.; Geraldes, C. F. G.; Moreno, M. J., Quantification of Cholesterol Solubilized in Dietary Micelles: Dependence on Human Bile Salt Variability and the Presence of Dietary Food Ingredients. Langmuir 2016, 32 (18), 4564-4574. DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b00723.

Filipe, H. A. L.; A. Salvador; J. M. Silvestre; W. L. C. Vaz; M. J. Moreno, Beyond Overton's Rule: Quantitative Modeling of Passive Permeation through Tight Cell Monolayers. Mol. Pharm. 2014, 11, 3696-3706. DOI: 10.1021/mp500437e.

Estronca, L. M. B. B.; H. A. L. Filipe; A. Salvador; M. J. Moreno; W. L. C. Vaz, Homeostasis of free cholesterol in the blood: a preliminary evaluation and modeling of its passive transport. J. Lipid Res. 2014, 55:1033-1043. DOI: 10.1194/jlr.M043067.

Martins, P. T.; A. Velazquez-Campoy; W. L. C. Vaz; R. M. S. Cardoso; J. Valerio; and M. J. Moreno, Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Chlorpromazine Interaction with Lipid Bilayers: Effect of Charge and Cholesterol. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134:4184-4195. DOI: 10.1021/ja209917q.

Cardoso, R. M. S.; P. A. T. Martins; F. Gomes; S. Doktorovova; W. L. C. Vaz; and M. J. Moreno, Chain-Length Dependence of Insertion, Desorption, and Translocation of a Homologous Series of 7-Nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl-Labeled Aliphatic Amines in Membranes. J. Phys. Chem. B 2011, 115:10098-10108. DOI: 10.1021/jp203429s.

Moreno, M. J.; L. M. B. B. Estronca; and W. L. C. Vaz, Translocation of phospholipids and dithionite permeability in liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered membranes. Biophys. J. 2006, 91:873-881. DOI: 10.1529/biophysj.106.082115.

Meder, D.; M. J. Moreno; P. Verkade; W. L. C. Vaz; and K. Simons, Phase coexistence and connectivity in the apical membrane of polarized epithelial cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2006, 103:329-334. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509885103.

Moreno, M. J.; E. Monson; R. G. Reddy; A. Rehemtulla; B. D. Ross; M. Philbert; R. J. Schneider; and R. Kopelman, Production of singlet oxygen by Ru(dpp(SO3)2)3 incorporated in polyacrylamide PEBBLES. Sensors And Actuators B-Chemical 2003, 90:82-89. DOI: 10.1016/S0925-4005(03)00057-1.