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Biochemistry. 2000 Oct 17;39(41):12708-16.

Transmembrane peptide NB of influenza B: a simulation, structure, and conductance study.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU, U.K.


The putative transmembrane segment of the ion channel forming peptide NB from influenza B was synthesized by standard solid-phase peptide synthesis. Insertion into the planar lipid bilayer revealed ion channel activity with conductance levels of 20, 61, 107, and 142 pS in a 0.5 M KCl buffer solution. In addition, levels at -100 mV show conductances of 251 and 413 pS. A linear current-voltage relation reveals a voltage-independent channel formation. In methanol and in vesicles the peptide appears to adopt an alpha-helical-like structure. Computational models of alpha-helix bundles using N = 4, 5, and 6 NB peptides per bundle revealed water-filled pores after 1 ns of MD simulation in a solvated lipid bilayer. Calculated conductance values [using HOLE (Smart et al. (1997) Biophys. J. 72, 1109-1126)] of ca. 20, 60, and 90 pS, respectively, suggested that the multiple conductance levels seen experimentally must correspond to different degrees of oligomerization of the peptide to form channels.

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