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Biochemistry. 1993 Sep 21;32(37):9792-7.

Orientation of fusion-active synthetic peptides in phospholipid bilayers: determination by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

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Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Japan.


A group of synthetic peptides having an amino acid sequence related to the N-terminal region of the influenza virus hemagglutinin HA-2 chain can induce phospholipid membrane fusion in a pH-dependent manner. These peptides bind to membranes to form alpha-helices even at pH's where no fusion activity is seen. We determined the orientation of these alpha-helical peptides in lipid multibilayers using attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy and found that the peptide alpha-helices took a preferential orientation, the helix axis being about 70 degrees from the normal of the membrane plane, or in other words rather parallel to the membrane plane. The orientation was almost independent of pH and a modification of the N-terminal amino group which reduced the fusion activity of the peptides. The determination was carried out for peptides in lipid multibilayers in dry or hydrated (membranes equilibrated with D2O vapor) conditions. Although a slight decrease in the helix orientation angle from the membrane normal was noticed for a hydrated system, the difference between the results for dry and hydrated conditions was small.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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