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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 15;277(11):8822-6. Epub 2002 Jan 7.

Phospholipid-cytochrome c interaction: evidence for the extended lipid anchorage.

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Department of Biochemistry, Helsinki Biophysics and Biomembrane Group, Institute of Biomedicine, P. O. Box 63, Haartmaninkatu 8, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014 Finland.


Binding of cytochrome c (cyt c) to fatty acids and acidic phospholipid membranes produces pronounced and essentially identical changes in the spectral properties of cyt c, revealing conformational changes in the protein. The exact mechanism of the interaction of fatty acids and acidic phospholipids with cyt c is unknown. Binding of cyt c to liposomes with high contents (mole fraction X > 0.7) of acidic phospholipids caused spectral changes identical to those due to binding of oleic acid. Fluorescence spectroscopy of a cyt c analog containing a Zn(2+) substituted heme moiety and brominated lipid derivatives (9,10)-dibromostearate and 1-palmitoyl-2-(9,10)-dibromo-sn-glycero-3-phospho-rac-glycerol demonstrated a direct contact between the fluorescent [Zn(2+)-heme] group and the brominated acyl chain. These data constitute direct evidence for interaction between an acyl chain of a membrane phospholipid and the inside of the protein containing the heme moiety and provide direct evidence for the so-called extended-lipid anchorage of cyt c to phospholipid membranes. In this mechanism, one of the phospholipid acyl chains protrudes out of the membrane and intercalates into a hydrophobic channel in cyt c while the other chain remains in the bilayer.

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