Control of Transmembrane Helix Dynamics by Interfacial Tryptophan Residues

by McKay, M. J.; Martfeld, A. N.; De Angelis, A. A.; Opella, S. J.; Greathouse, D. V.; Koeppe, R. E.

Transmembrane protein domains often contain interfacial aromatic residues, which may play a role in the insertion and stability of membrane helices. Residues such as Trp or Tyr, therefore, are often found situated at the lipid-water interface. We have examined the extent to which the precise radial locations of interfacial Trp residues may influence peptide helix orientation and dynamics. To address these questions, we have modified the GW(5,19)ALP23 (acetyl-GGALW(5) (LA)(6)LW(19)LAGA-[ethanol]amide) model peptide framework to relocate the Trp residues. Peptide orientation and dynamics were analyzed by means of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to monitor specific H-2- and N-15-labeled residues. GW(5,19)ALP23 adopts a defined, tilted orientation within lipid bilayer membranes with minimal evidence of motional averaging of NMR observables, such as H-2 quadrupolar or N-15-H-1 dipolar splittings. Here, we examine how peptide dynamics are impacted by relocating the interfacial Trp (W) residues on both ends and opposing faces of the helix, for example by a 100(degrees) rotation on the helical wheel for positions 4 and 20. In contrast to GW(5,19)ALP23, the modified GW(4,20)ALP23 helix experiences more extensive motional averaging of the NMR observables in several lipid bilayers of different thickness. Individual and combined Gaussian analyses of the H-2 and N-15 NMR signals confirm that the extent of dynamic averaging, particularly rotational "slippage" about the helix axis, is strongly coupled to the radial distribution of the interfacial Trp residues as well as the bilayer thickness. Additional H-2 labels on alanines A3 and A21 reveal partial fraying of the helix ends. Even within the context of partial unwinding, the locations of particular Trp residues around the helix axis are prominent factors for determining transmembrane helix orientation and dynamics within the lipid membrane environment.

Biophysical Journal
Start Page
1542-0086; 0006-3495