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J Mol Biol. 2005 Dec 16;354(5):1129-41. Epub 2005 Nov 8.

Molecular dynamics simulations of the influenza hemagglutinin fusion peptide in micelles and bilayers: conformational analysis of peptide and lipids.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biophysics, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, 1401 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-1448, USA.


Molecular dynamics simulations of the influenza hemagglutinin fusion peptide in two differently sized dodecylphosphocholine micelles and a palmitoyl oleoyl phosphatidylcholine bilayer were generated to analyze the influence of the environment. Four independent trajectories (5 ns each for the bilayer, and 2 ns each for the micelles) were generated for each system. The peptide lies at the surface of the micelles, while its N-terminal region inserts deeply in the bilayer. This leads to a substantial increase of the solvation and rigidity of the peptide in micelles as compared to the bilayer. The average structures, nevertheless, are similar in all three systems and agree reasonably with micelle-based NMR structures. When in the bilayer, the peptide increases the chain gauche population and area of adjacent lipids in the same binding leaflet, while it has the opposite effect for the nearby lipids of the other leaflet. These changes, which occur spontaneously to fill voids and defects, cause a decrease in the thickness of the membrane in the neighborhood of the peptide. They would be expected to promote positive curvature, as consistent with the formation of the convex bulge, or "nipple", in the initial stage of membrane fusion. An extension of the classical surfactant theory of Israelachvili based on shapes is proposed to introduce the concept of a "dynamically induced shape" of the membrane lipids by the peptide.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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