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Biochem Soc Trans. 2001 Aug;29(Pt 4):565-70.

Peptaibols: models for ion channels.

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  • 1Department of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, University of London, London WC1E 7HX, UK.


Peptaibols are membrane-active polypeptides isolated from fungal sources. They are characterized by the presence of an unusual amino acid, alpha-aminoisobutyric acid, and a C-terminal hydroxylated amino acid. Peptaibols exhibit antibiotic activity against bacteria and fungi. Their amphipathic nature allows them to self-associate into oligomeric ion-channel assemblies which span the width of lipid bilayer membranes. Over 200 peptaibol sequences have been reported to date, which are compiled in the Peptaibol Database at Alignments of these sequences have been carried out in order to define a series of related subfamilies (SFs) with common sequence features thought to be important for channel formation. Crystal structures determined for a number of peptaibols from the various SFs provide the bases both for modelling of the channel structures and for modelling structures of other members of the same SFs.

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