Illuminating Disorder Induced by Glu in a Stable Arg-Anchored Transmembrane Helix
by Price, J. R.; Afrose, F.; Greathouse, D. V.; Koeppe, R. E.
Membrane proteins are vital for biological function and are complex to study. Even in model peptide-lipid systems, the combined influence or interaction of pairs of chemical groups still is not well understood. Disordered proteins, whether in solution or near lipid membranes, are an emerging paradigm for the initiation and control of biological function. The disorder can involve molecular orientation as well as molecular folding. This paper reports an astonishing induction of disorder when one Glu residue is introduced into a highly stable 23-residue transmembrane helix. The parent helix is anchored by a single Arg residue, tilted at a well-defined angle with respect to the DOPC bilayer normal and undergoes rapid cone precession. When Glu is introduced two residues away from Arg, with 200 degrees (or 160 degrees) radial separation, the helix properties change radically to exhibit a multiplicity of three or more disordered states. The helix characteristics have been monitored by deuterium (H-2) NMR spectroscopy as functions of the pH and lipid bilayer composition. The disordered multistate behavior of the (Glu, Arg)-containing helix varies with the lipid bilayer thickness and pH. The results highlight a fundamental induction of protein multistate properties by a single Glu residue in a lipid membrane environment.