The 26-residue peptide of sequence KEALYILMVLGFFGFFTLGIMLSYIR, which contains the single putative transmembrane domain of a small protein that is associated with slow voltage-gated K+ channels, has been incorporated in bilayers of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine by dialysis from 2-chloroethanol to form complexes of homogeneous lipid/peptide ratio. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicates that the peptide is integrated in the lipid bilayer wholly in a β-sheet conformation. The electron spin resonance spectra of spin-labeled lipids in the lipid/peptide complexes contain a component corresponding to lipids whose chains are motionally restricted in a manner similar to those of lipids at the hydrophobic surface of integral transmembrane proteins. From the dependence of the lipid spin label spectra on the lipid/peptide ratio of the complexes, it is found that ca. 2.5 lipids per peptide monomer, independent of the species of spin-labeled lipid, are motionally restricted by direct interaction with the peptide in the bilayer. This value would be consistent with, e.g., a β-barrel structure for the peptide in which the β-strands either are strongly tilted or have a reverse turn at their center. A preferential selectivity of interaction with the peptide is observed for the negatively charged spin-labeled lipids phosphatidic acid, stearic acid, and phosphatidylserine, which indicates close proximity of the positively charged residues at the peptide termini to the lipid headgroups. The saturation-transfer electron spin resonance spectra of the peptide spin-labeled at a cysteine residue replacing Leu 18 evidence rather slow rotational diffusion in the lipid complexes. This indicates that the presumably enclosed β-sheet units of the peptide are aggregated in oligomeric assemblies in the lipid bilayer. The results suggest a way in which one type of channel unit may be integrated in the membrane.
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