[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Na+/H+ antiporters are central to cellular salt and pH homeostasis. The structure of Escherichia coli NhaA was recently determined, but its mechanisms of transport and pH regulation remain elusive. We performed molecular dynamics simulations of NhaA that, with existing experimental data, enabled us to propose an atomically detailed model of antiporter function. Three conserved aspartates are key to our proposed mechanism: Asp164 (D164) is the Na+-binding site, D163 controls the alternating accessibility of this binding site to the cytoplasm or periplasm, and D133 is crucial for pH regulation. Consistent with experimental stoichiometry, two protons are required to transport a single Na+ ion: D163 protonates to reveal the Na+-binding site to the periplasm, and subsequent protonation of D164 releases Na+. Additional mutagenesis experiments further validated the model.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have investigated the effect of the transmembrane domain of three viral ion channel proteins on the lipid bilayer structure by X-ray reflectivity and scattering from oriented planar bilayers. The proteins show a similar effect on the lipid bilayer structural parameters: an increase in the lipid bilayer hydrophobic core, a decrease in the amplitude of the vertical density profile and a systematic change in the ordering of the acyl chains as a function of protein-to-lipid ratio. These results are discussed in a comparative view.
European Biophysics Journal 01/2007; 36(1):45-55. · 2.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an attempt to understand what distinguishes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SCoV) from other members of the coronaviridae, we searched for elements that are unique to its proteins and not present in any other family member. We identified an insertion of two glycine residues, forming the GxxxG motif, in the SCoV spike protein transmembrane domain (TMD), which is not found in any other coronavirus. This surprising finding raises an "oligomerization riddle": the GxxxG motif is a known dimerization signal, while the SCoV spike protein is known to be trimeric. Using an in vivo assay, we found that the SCoV spike protein TMD is oligomeric and that this oligomerization is driven by the GxxxG motif. We also found that the GxxxG motif contributes toward the trimerization of the entire spike protein; in that, mutations in the GxxxG motif decrease trimerization of the full-length protein expressed in mammalian cells. Using molecular modeling, we show that the SCoV spike protein TMD adopts a distinct and unique structure as opposed to all other coronaviruses. In this unique structure, the glycine residues of the GxxxG motif are facing each other, enhancing helix-helix interactions by allowing for the close positioning of the helices. This unique orientation of the glycine residues also stabilizes the trimeric bundle during multi-nanosecond molecular dynamics simulation in a hydrated lipid bilayer. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that the GxxxG motif can potentiate other oligomeric forms beside a dimer. Finally, according to recent studies, the stabilization of the trimeric bundle is linked to a higher fusion activity of the spike protein, and the possible influence of the GxxxG motif on this feature is discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the structure of the hydrophobic domain of the severe acute respiratory syndrome E protein in model lipid membranes by x-ray reflectivity and x-ray scattering. In particular, we used x-ray reflectivity to study the location of an iodine-labeled residue within the lipid bilayer. The label imposes spatial constraints on the protein topology. Experimental data taken as a function of protein/lipid ratio P/L and different swelling states support the hairpin conformation of severe acute respiratory syndrome E protein reported previously. Changes in the bilayer thickness and acyl-chain ordering are presented as a function of P/L, and discussed in view of different structural models.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on an anomalous X-ray reflectivity study to locate a labelled residue of a membrane protein with respect to the lipid bilayer. From such experiments, important constraints on the protein or peptide conformation can be derived. Specifically, our aim is to localize an iodine-labelled phenylalanine in the SARS E protein, incorporated in DMPC phospholipid bilayers, which are deposited in the form of thick multilamellar stacks on silicon surfaces. Here, we discuss the experimental aspects and the difficulties associated with the Fourier synthesis analysis that gives the electron density profile of the membranes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The agent responsible for the recent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak is a previously unidentified coronavirus. While there is a wealth of epidemiological studies, little if any molecular characterization of SARS coronavirus (SCoV) proteins has been carried out. Here we describe the molecular characterization of SCoV E protein, a critical component of the virus responsible for virion envelope morphogenesis. We conclusively show that SCoV E protein contains an unusually short, palindromic transmembrane helical hairpin around a previously unidentified pseudo-center of symmetry, a structural feature which seems to be unique to SCoV. The hairpin deforms lipid bilayers by way of increasing their curvature, providing for the first time a molecular explanation of E protein's pivotal role in viral budding. The molecular understanding of this critical component of SCoV may represent the beginning of a concerted effort aimed at inhibiting its function, and consequently, viral infectivity.
Journal of Molecular Biology 09/2004; 341(3):769-79. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to the apolar nature of the lipid bilayer, the weak Calpha-H...O H-bond is thought to contribute significantly toward the stability of transmembrane helical bundles such as glycophorin A (GPA). Here for the first time we measured the strength of such a bond, using vibrational frequency shifts of a dimeric and nondimeric variants of GPA containing a Gly CD2 label. Although the resulting estimated bond strength of 0.88 kcal/mol is relatively weak, several such bonds could contribute significantly toward bundle stabilization.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 06/2004; 126(17):5362-3. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Site-specific infrared dichroism is an emerging method capable of proposing a model for the backbone structure of a transmembrane alpha-helix within a helical bundle. Dichroism measurements of single, isotopically enhanced vibrational modes (e.g., Amide I 13C=18O or Gly CD2 stretching modes) can yield precise orientational restraints for the monomer helix protomer that can be used as refinement constraints in model building of the entire helical bundle. Essential, however, for the interpretation of the dichroism measurements, is an accurate modeling of the sample disorder. In this study we derive an enhanced and more realistic modeling of the sample disorder based on a Gaussian distribution of the chromophore around a particular angle. The enhanced utility of the Gaussian model is exemplified by the comparative data analysis based on the aforementioned model to previously employed models.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infrared spectroscopy has long been used to examine the average secondary structure and orientation of membrane proteins. With the recent utilization of site-specific isotope labeling (e.g., peptidic 1-(13)C = (18)O) it is now possible to examine localized properties, rather than global averages. The technique of site-specific infrared dichroism (SSID) capitalized on this fact, and derives site-specific orientational restraints for the labeled amino acids. These restraints can then be used to solve the backbone structure of simple alpha-helical bundles, emphasizing the capabilities of this approach. So far SSID has been carried out in attenuated total internal reflection optical mode, with all of the respective caveats of attenuated total internal reflection. In this report we extend SSID through the use of transmission infrared spectroscopy tilt series. We develop the corresponding theory and demonstrate that accurate site-specific orientational restraints can be derived from a simple transmission experiment.