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Effect of variations in the structure of a polyleucine-based alpha-helical transmembrane peptide on its interaction with phosphatidylcholine bilayers

Effect of variations in the structure of a polyleucine-based alpha-helical transmembrane peptide on its interaction with phosphatidylcholine bilayers

Biochemistry 41(29): 9197-9207

High-sensitivity differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy were used to study the interaction of an alpha-helical transmembrane peptide, acetyl-Lys2-Leu24-Lys2-amide (L24), and odd-chain members of the homologous series of n-saturated diacylphosphatidylcholines. An analogue of L24, in which the lysine residues were all replaced by 2,3-diaminopropionic acid, and another, in which a leucine residue at each end of the polyLeu sequence was replaced by a tryptophan, were also studied. At low peptide concentrations, the DSC thermograms exhibited by these lipid/peptide mixtures are resolvable into two components. One of these components is fairly narrow, highly cooperative, and exhibits properties which are similar to but not identical with those of the pure lipid. In addition, the transition temperature and cooperativity of this component, and its fractional contribution to the total enthalpy change, decrease with an increase in peptide concentration, more or less independently of phospholipid acyl chain length. The other component is very broad and predominates at high peptide concentrations. These two components have been assigned to the chain-melting phase transitions of populations of peptide-poor and peptide-enriched lipid domains, respectively. Moreover, when the mean hydrophobic thickness of the PC bilayer is less than the peptide hydrophobic length, the peptide-associated lipid melts at higher temperatures than does the bulk lipid and vice versa. In addition, the chain-melting enthalpy of the broad endotherm does not decrease to zero even at high peptide concentrations, suggesting that these peptides reduce somewhat but do not abolish the cooperative gel/liquid-crystalline phase transition of the lipids with which it is in contact. Our DSC results indicate that the width of the broad phase transition observed at high peptide concentration is inversely but discontinuously related to hydrocarbon chain length. Our FTIR spectroscopic data indicate that these peptides form a very stable alpha-helix under all of our experimental conditions but that small distortions of their alpha-helical conformation are induced in response to mismatch between peptide hydrophobic length and gel-state bilayer hydrophobic thickness. We also present evidence that these distortions are localized to the N- and C-terminal regions of these peptides. Interestingly, replacing the terminal Lys residues of L24 by 2,3-diaminopropionic acid residues actually attenuates the hydrophobic mismatch effects of the peptide on the thermotropic phase behavior of the host PC bilayer, in contrast to the predictions of the snorkel hypothesis. We rationalize this attenuated hydrophobic mismatch effect by postulating that the 2,3-diaminopropionic acid residues are too short to engage in significant electrostatic and hydrogen-bonding interactions with the polar headgroups of the host phospholipid bilayer, even in the absence of any hydrophobic mismatch between incorporated peptide and the bilayer. Similarly, the reduced hydrophobic mismatch effect also observed when the two terminal Leu residues of L24 are replaced by Trp residues is rationalized by considering the lower energetic cost of exposing the Trp as opposed to the Leu residues to the aqueous phase in thin PC bilayers and the higher cost of inserting the Trp as opposed to the Leu residues into the hydrophobic cores of think PC bilayers.

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Accession: 010538965

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PMID: 12119034

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