Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2005 Oct;6(5):399-411.

NMR studies on how the binding complex of polyisoprenol recognition sequence peptides and polyisoprenols can modulate membrane structure.

Author information

Center for Hemostasis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The glycosyl carrier lipids, dolichylphosphate (C(95)-P) and undecapreylphosphate (C(55)-P) are key molecular players in the synthesis and translocation of complex glycoconjugates across cell membranes. The molecular mechanism of how these processes occur remains a mystery. Failure to completely catalyze C(95)-P-mediated N-linked protein glycosylation is lethal, as are defects in the C(55)-P-mediated synthesis of bacterial cell surface polymers. Our recent NMR studies have sought to understand the role these "super-lipids" play in biosynthetic and translocation pathways, which are of critical importance to problems in human biology and molecular medicine. The PIs can alter membrane structure by inducing in the lamellar phospholipids (PL) bilayer a non-lamellar or hexagonal (Hex(II)) structure. Membrane proteins that bind PIs contain a transmembrane binding motif, designated a PI recognition sequence (PIRS). Herein we review our recent combination of (1)H- and (31)P NMR spectroscopy and energy minimized molecular modeling studies that have determined the preferred orientation of PIs in model phospholipids membranes. They also show that the addition of a PIRS peptide to nonlamellar membranes induced by the PIs can reverse the Hex(II) phase back to a lamellar structure. Our molecular modeling calculations have also shown that as many as five PIRS peptides can bind to a single PI molecule. These findings lead to the hypothesis that the PI-induced Hex(II) structure may have the potential of forming a membrane channel that could facilitate glycoconjugate translocation processes. This is an alternate hypothesis to the possible existence of hypothetical "flippases" to accomplish movement of hydrophilic sugar chains across hydrophobic membranes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
Loading ...
Support Center