The effects of hydrophobic mismatch between phosphatidylcholine bilayers and transmembrane alpha-helical peptides depend on the nature of interfacially exposed aromatic and charged residues
by de Planque, M. R. R.; Boots, J. W. P.; Rijkers, D. T. S.; Liskamp, R. M. J.; Greathouse, D. V.; Killian, J. A.
This study, we investigated the extent to which different aromatic and positively charged side chains, which often flank transmembrane segments of proteins, can influence lipid-peptide interactions. Model systems consisting of phosphatidylcholine and hydrophobic a-helical peptides with different flanking residues were investigated. The peptides were incorporated in relatively thick and in relatively thin lipid bilayers to create a peptide-bilayer hydrophobic mismatch, and the compensating effects on lipid structure were analyzed. When relatively long with respect to the thickness of the bilayer, the peptides that are flanked by the aromatic side chains, Trp, Tyr, and Phe, all induce a significant ordering of the lipid acyl chains, while the peptides flanked by the charged residues Lys, Arg, and His do not. However, when the peptides are relatively short with respect to the thickness of the bilayer, their effect on lipid organization does not depend primarily on their aromatic or charged character. Peptides flanked by Trp, Tyr, Lys, or (at low pH) His residues are effective in inducing mismatch-relieving cubic and inverted hexagonal phases, while analogues flanked by Phe, Arg, or (at neutral pH) His residues cannot induce an inverted hexagonal phase. The different responses to mismatch might reflect the different interfacial affinities of the residues that were investigated.