5 research outputs found

    Snorkeling of lysine side chains in transmembrane helices: how easy can it get?

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    AbstractTransmembrane segments of proteins are often flanked by lysine residues. The side chains of these residues may snorkel, i.e. they may bury themselves with their aliphatic part in the hydrophobic region of the lipid bilayer, while positioning the charged amino group in the more polar interface. Here we estimate the free energy cost of snorkeling from thermodynamical calculations based on studies with synthetic transmembrane peptides [Strandberg et al. (2002) Biochemistry 41, 7190–7198]. The value is estimated to be between 0.07 and 0.7 kcal mol−1 for a lysine side chain. This very low value indicates that snorkeling may be a common process, which should be taken into consideration both in experimental and in theoretical studies on protein–lipid interactions

    Components required for membrane assembly of newly synthesized K+ channel KcsA

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    An Escherichia coli in vitro transcription-translation system was used to study the components involved in the biogenesis of the homotetrameric potassium channel KcsA. We show that a functional signal recognition particle pathway is essential for tetramer formation, probably to direct correct monomer insertion in the membrane. In the absence of YidC or at reduced SecYEG levels, KcsA assembly occurs with lower efficiency. Strikingly, the highest efficiency of tetramerization was observed when transcription-translation was carried out in the presence of pure lipid vesicles, demonstrating that a phospholipid bilayer is the minimal membrane requirement to form the KcsA tetramer. It is concluded that SecYEG and YidC are not required for the formation of tetrameric KcsA in vitro.