Send to

Choose Destination
Biochemistry. 2002 Oct 8;41(40):12171-8.

Lipid II induces a transmembrane orientation of the pore-forming peptide lantibiotic nisin.

Author information

Department Biochemistry of Membranes, Centre for Biomembranes and Lipid Enzymology, CBLE, Institute of Biomembranes, IB, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide produced by Lactococcus lactis and used as a food preservative in dairy products. The peptide kills Gram-positive bacteria via the permeabilization of the membrane, most probably via pore formation using the cell wall precursor Lipid II as its docking molecule. In this study, site-directed tryptophan spectroscopy was used to determine the topology of nisin in the Lipid II containing membrane, as a start to elucidate the mechanism of targeted pore formation. Three single tryptophan mutants were used, which are viable representatives of the wild-type peptide. The emission spectra of tryptophans located at the N-terminus, the center, and the C-terminus as well as quenching by acrylamide and spin-labeled lipids were investigated using model membrane vesicles composed of DOPC containing 1 mol % Lipid II. Nisin was shown to adopt an orientation where the most probable position of the N-terminus was found to be near the Lipid II headgroup at the bilayer surface, the position of the center of nisin was in the middle of the phospholipid bilayer, and the C-terminus was located near the interface between the headgroups and acyl chain region. These results were used to propose a model for the orientation of nisin in Lipid II containing membranes. Our findings demonstrated that Lipid II changes the overall orientation of nisin in membranes from parallel to perpendicular with respect to the membrane surface. The stable transmembrane orientation of nisin in the presence of Lipid II might allow us to determine the structure of the nisin-Lipid II pores in the lipid bilayer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center