Influence of Lipid Saturation, Hydrophobic Length and Cholesterol on Double-Arginine-Containing Helical Peptides in Bilayer Membranes

by Lipinski, K.; McKay, M. J.; Afrose, F.; Martfeld, A. N.; Koeppe, R. E.; Greathouse, D. V.

Membrane proteins are essential for many cell processes yet are more difficult to investigate than soluble proteins. Charged residues often contribute significantly to membrane protein function. Model peptides such as GWALP23 (acetyl-GGALW(5)LAL(8)LALALAL(16)ALW(19)LAGA-amide) can be used to characterize the influence of specific residues on transmembrane protein domains. We have substituted R8 and R16 in GWALP23 in place of L8 and L16, equidistant from the peptide center, and incorporated specific H-2-labeled alanine residues within the central sequence for detection by solid-state H-2 NMR spectroscopy. The resulting pattern of [H-2]Ala quadrupolar splitting (Delta nu(q)) magnitudes indicates the core helix for R(8,16)GWALP23 is significantly tilted to give a similar transmembrane orientation in thinner bilayers with either saturated C12:0 or C14:0 acyl chains (1,2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DLPC) or 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC)) or unsaturated C16:1 Delta 9 cis acyl chains. In bilayers of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC; C18:1 Delta 9 cis) multiple orientations are indicated, whereas in longer, unsaturated 1,2-dieicosenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DEiPC; C20:1 Delta 11 cis) bilayers, the R(8,16)GWALP23 helix adopts primarily a surface orientation. The inclusion of 10-20 mol % cholesterol in DOPC bilayers drives more of the R(8,16)GWALP23 helix population to the membrane surface, thereby allowing both charged arginines access to the interfacial lipid head groups. The results suggest that hydrophobic thickness and cholesterol content are more important than lipid saturation for the arginine peptide dynamics and helix orientation in lipid membranes.

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1439-7633; 1439-4227