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J Biol Chem. 1993 Jun 15;268(17):12434-42.

Effect of high pressure on the association of melittin to membranes.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-8661.


To determine the underlying basis for the sensitivity of peripheral peptides to lipid packing, we monitored the change in association of melittin to different membranes under hydrostatic pressure by fluorescence polarization and by fluorescence intensity in the presence of aqueous quenchers. Association to lysophosphatidylcholine micelles or to membranes composed of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine, dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine, or dioleoylphosphatidylcholine was found to be stable from 1 to 2000 atm. Similar results were obtained using multilamellar vesicles, small unilamellar vesicles, or large unilamellar vesicles. Thus, the increase in lipid chain packing induced by pressure does not alter the association of bound complexes. This result indicates similar compressibilities of the peptide and the head group binding region. Increasing the ionic strength to increase the charge of the free peptide also resulted in a pressure-insensitive complex showing that the hydration does not change upon binding. This conclusion is substantiated by a lack of van't Hoff delta H to dioleoylphosphatidylcholine large unilamellar vesicles. To gain a more molecular picture of these associations, the rotational properties of the tryptophan side chain of bound melittin as a function of lipid packing was also studied. These data indicate subtle differences in peptide orientation in different lipids.

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