10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2011.12.005

EFFECT OF HEAD GROUP AND CURVATURE ON BINDING OF THE ANTIMICROBIAL PEPTIDE TRITRPTICIN TO LIPID MEMBRANES

Abstract

AbstractIn this work we examine the interaction between the 13-residue cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP) tritrpticin (VRRFPWWWPFLRR, TRP3) and model membranes of variable lipid composition. The effect on peptide conformational properties was investigated by means of CD (circular dichroism) and fluorescence spectroscopies. Based on the hypothesis that the antibiotic acts through a mechanism involving toroidal pore formation, and taking into account that models of toroidal pores imply the formation of positive curvature, we used large unilamellar vesicles (LUV) to mimic the initial step of peptide-lipid interaction, when the peptide binds to the bilayer membrane, and micelles to mimic the topology of the pore itself, since these aggregates display positive curvature. In order to more faithfully assess the role of curvature, micelles were prepared with lysophospholipids containing (qualitatively and quantitatively) head groups identical to those of bilayer phospholipids. CD and fluorescence spectra showed that, while TRP3 binds to bilayers only when they carry negatively charged phospholipids, binding to micelles occurs irrespective of surface charge, indicating that electrostatic interactions play a less predominant role in the latter case. Moreover, the conformations acquired by the peptide were independent of lipid composition in both bilayers and micelles. However, the conformations were different in bilayers and in micelles, suggesting that curvature has an influence on the secondary structure acquired by the peptide. Fluorescence data pointed to an interfacial location of TRP3 in both types of aggregates. Nevertheless, experiments with a water soluble fluorescence quencher suggested that the tryptophan residues are more accessible to the quencher in micelles than in bilayers. Thus, we propose that bilayers and micelles can be used as models for the two steps of toroidal pore formation

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