Tilt angles of transmembrane model peptides in oriented and non-oriented lipid bilayers as determined by H-2 solid-state NMR

by Strandberg, E.; Ozdirekcan, S.; Rijkers, D. T. S.; van der Wel, P. C. A.; Koeppe, R. E.; Liskamp, R. M. J.; Killian, J. A.

Solid-state NMR methods employing H-2 NMR and geometric analysis of labeled alanines (GALA) were used to study the structure and orientation of the transmembrane a-helical peptide acetyl-GWW(LA)(8)LWWA-amide (WALP23) in phosphatidylcholine (PC) bilayers of varying thickness. In all lipids the peptide was found to adopt a transmembrane alpha-helical conformation. A small tilt angle of 4.5degrees was observed in di-18:1-PC, which has a hydrophobic bilayer thickness that approximately matches the hydrophobic length of the peptide. This tilt angle increased slightly but systematically with increasing positive mismatch to 8.2degrees in di-C12:0-PC, the shortest lipid used. This small increase in tilt angle is insufficient to significantly change the effective hydrophobic length of the peptide and thereby to compensate for the increasing hydrophobic mismatch, suggesting that tilt of these peptides in a lipid bilayer is energetically unfavorable. The tilt and also the orientation around the peptide axis were found to be very similar to the values previously reported for a shorter WALP19 peptide (GWW(LA)(6)LWWA). As also observed in this previous study, the peptide rotates rapidly around the bilayer normal, but not around its helix axis. Here we show that these properties allow application of the GALA method not only to macroscopically aligned samples but also to randomly oriented samples, which has important practical advantages. A minimum of four labeled alanine residues in the hydrophobic transmembrane sequence was found to be required to obtain accurate tilt values using the GALA method.

Biophysical Journal
Start Page
1542-0086; 0006-3495