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Biophys J. 2018 May 8;114(9):2107-2115. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2018.03.036.

Bilayer Thickness and Curvature Influence Binding and Insertion of a pHLIP Peptide.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
2
Physics Department, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island.
3
Physics Department, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island. Electronic address: reshetnyak@uri.edu.
4
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Electronic address: donald.engelman@yale.edu.

Abstract

The physical properties of lipid bilayers, such as curvature and fluidity, can affect the interactions of polypeptides with membranes, influencing biological events. Additionally, given the growing interest in peptide-based therapeutics, understanding the influence of membrane properties on membrane-associated peptides has potential utility. pH low insertion peptides (pHLIPs) are a family of water-soluble peptides that can insert across cell membranes in a pH-dependent manner, enabling the use of pH to follow peptide-lipid interactions. Here we study pHLIP interactions with liposomes varying in size and composition, to determine the influence of several key membrane physical properties. We find that pHLIP binding to bilayer surfaces at neutral pH is governed by the ease of access to the membrane's hydrophobic core, which can be facilitated by membrane curvature, thickness, and the cholesterol content of the membrane. After surface binding, if the pH is lowered, the kinetics of pHLIP folding to form a helix and subsequent insertion across the membrane depends on the fluidity and energetic dynamics of the membrane. We showed that pHLIP is capable of forming a helix across lipid bilayers of different thicknesses at low pH. However, the kinetics of the slow phase of insertion corresponding to the translocation of C-terminal end of the peptide across lipid bilayer, vary approximately twofold, and correlate with bilayer thickness and fluidity. Although these influences are not large, local curvature variations in membranes of different fluidity could selectively influence surface binding in mixed cell populations.

PMID:
29742404
PMCID:
PMC5961746
[Available on 2019-05-08]
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2018.03.036

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