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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Apr 15;424(2):210-8.

Fusogenic domain and lysines in saposin C.

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The Division and Program in Human Genetics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation, and Department of Pediatrics, The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA.


Saposin C, a sphingolipid activator protein with fusogenic activity, interacts specifically with the membrane containing negatively charged, unsaturated phospholipids. The kinetics and mechanism of saposin C-induced membrane fusion were previously investigated using acidic phospholipid liposomes. A hypothetic clip-on model for such a fusion process was illustrated by the ionic binding between saposin C and lipids, as well as the inter-saposin C hydrophobic interaction. Here, we report the location of the fusogenic domain in a linear sequence at the amino-terminal half of saposin C. This domain consisted of the first and second helical sequences. Selected positively charged lysines in the fusogenic domain were mutated to study the roles of basic residues in the saposin C-induced vesicle fusion. Based on the results, Lys13 and Lys17 were critical for the fusogenic activity, but had no effect on the enzymatic activation of acid beta-glucosidase (GCase). These results clearly indicate the segregation of the fusion and activation function into two different regions of saposin C. Interestingly, all the Lys mutant saposin Cs anchored on the acidic phospholipid membrane. Our data suggest that saposin C's fusogenic and activation functions have different requirements for the orientation and insertion manners of helical peptides in membranes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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