Effects of green tea catechins on gramicidin channel function and inferred changes in bilayer properties
Author: Helgi I. Ingólfsson and Roger E. Koeppe II and Olaf S. Andersen
Green tea's health benefits have been attributed to its major polyphenols, the catechins: (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), (−)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), (−)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin (EC). Catechins (especially EGCG) modulate a wide range of biologically important molecules, including many membrane proteins. Yet, little is known about their mechanism(s) of action. We tested the catechins’ bilayer-modifying potency using gramicidin A (gA) channels as molecular force probes. All the catechins alter gA channel function and modify bilayer properties, with a 500-fold range in potency (EGCG > ECG ≫ EGC > EC). Additionally, the gallate group causes current block, as evident by brief downward current transitions (flickers).