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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 Nov 16;1029(2):267-73.

Orientation into the lipid bilayer of an asymmetric amphipathic helical peptide located at the N-terminus of viral fusion proteins.

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Laboratory of Macromolecules at Interfaces, Brussels, Belgium.


The complete amino-acid sequence of viral fusion proteins has been analyzed by the Eisenberg procedure. The region surrounding the cleavage site contains a highly hydrophilic region immediately followed by a membrane-like region. Since the effective cleavage between these two domains seems required to expose the fusogenic domain (located at the N-terminal sequence of the transmembrane like region) which is assumed to interact with the lipid membrane of the host cell, we have focused our analysis on the conformation and mode of insertion of this membrane-like domain in a lipid monolayer. It was inserted as an alpha-helical structure into a dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) monolayer and its orientation at the lipid/water interface was determined using a theoretical analysis procedure allowing the assembly of membrane components. For each viral protein sequence these N-terminal helical segments oriented obliquely with respect to the lipid/water interface. This rather unusual orientation is envisaged as a prerequisite to membrane destabilization and fusogenic activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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