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Chem Phys Lipids. 2006 Jun;141(1-2):83-93. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Anchoring mechanisms of membrane-associated M13 major coat protein.

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University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Slovenia.


Bacteriophage M13 major coat protein is extensively used as a biophysical, biochemical, and molecular biology reference system for studying membrane proteins. The protein has several elements that control its position and orientation in a lipid bilayer. The N-terminus is dominated by the presence of negatively charged amino acid residues (Glu2, Asp4, and Asp5), which will always try to extend into the aqueous phase and therefore act as a hydrophilic anchor. The amphipathic and the hydrophobic transmembrane part contain the most important hydrophobic anchoring elements. In addition there are specific aromatic and charged amino acid residues in these domains (Phe 11, Tyr21, Tyr24, Trp26, Phe42, Phe45, Lys40, Lys43, and Lys44) that fine-tune the association of the protein to the lipid bilayer. The interfacial Tyr residues are important recognition elements for precise protein positioning, a function that cannot be performed optimally by residues with an aliphatic character. The Trp26 anchor is not very strong: depending on the context, the tryptophan residue may move in or out of the membrane. On the other hand, Lys residues and Phe residues at the C-terminus of the protein act in a unique concerted action to strongly anchor the protein in the lipid bilayer.

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