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Mol Membr Biol. 2009 Aug;26(5):265-78. doi: 10.1080/09687680903081610. Epub 2009 Jun 30.

Interaction of transmembrane-spanning segments of the alpha2-adrenergic receptor with model membranes.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine, University de Les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Adrenergic receptors are integral membrane proteins involved in cellular signalling that belong to the G protein-coupled receptors. Synthetic peptides resembling the putative transmembrane (TM) segments TM4, TM6 and TM7, of the human alpha2-adrenergic receptor subtype C10 (P08913) and defined lipid vesicles were used to assess protein-lipid interactions that might be relevant to receptor structure/function. P6 peptide contains the hydrophobic core of TM6 plus the N-terminal hydrophilic motif REKR, while peptides P4 and P7 contained just the hydrophobic stretches of TM4 and TM7, respectively. All the peptides increase their helical tendency at moderate concentrations of TFE (30-50%) and in presence of 1,2-dielaidoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylethanolamine (DEPE) lipids. However, only P6 displays up to 19% of alpha-helix in the presence of just the DEPE lipids, evidences a transmembrane orientation and stabilizes the Lalpha lipid phase. Conversely, P4 and P7 peptides form only stable beta-sheet structures in DEPE and favour the non-lamellar, inverted hexagonal (H(II)) phase of DEPE by lowering its phase transition temperature. This study highlights the potential of using synthetic peptides derived from the amino acid sequence in the native proteins as templates to understand the behaviour of the transmembrane segments and underline the importance of interfacial anchoring interactions to meet hydrophobic matching requirements and define membrane organization.

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