Role of chirality in peptide-induced formation of cholesterol-rich domains Academic Article uri icon

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  • The chiral specificity of the interactions of peptides that induce the formation of cholesterol-rich domains has not been extensively investigated. Both the peptide and most lipids are chiral, so there is a possibility that interactions between peptide and lipid could require chiral recognition. On the other hand, in our models with small peptides, the extent of folding of the peptide to form a specific binding pocket is limited. We have determined that replacing cholesterol with its enantiomer, ent-cholesterol, alters the modulation of lipid organization by peptides. The phase-transition properties of SOPC (1-stearoyl-2-oleoylphosphatidylcholine):cholesterol [in a 6:4 ratio with 0.2 mol% PtdIns(4,5)P2] are not significantly altered when ent-cholesterol replaces cholesterol. However, in the presence of 10 mol% of a 19-amino-acid, N-terminally myristoylated fragment (myristoyl-GGKLSKKKKGYNVNDEKAK-amide) of the protein NAP-22 (neuronal axonal membrane protein), the lipid mixture containing cholesterol undergoes separation into cholesterol-rich and cholesterol-depleted domains. This does not occur when ent-cholesterol replaces cholesterol. In another example, when N-acetyl-Leu-Trp-Tyr-Ile-Lys-amide (N-acetyl-LWYIK-amide) is added to SOPC:cholesterol (7:3 ratio), there is a marked increase in the transition enthalpy of the phospholipid, indicating separation of a cholesterol-depleted domain of SOPC. This phenomenon completely disappears when ent-cholesterol replaces cholesterol. The all-D-isomer of N-acetyl-LWYIK-amide also induces the formation of cholesterol-rich domains with natural cholesterol, but does so to a lesser extent with ent-cholesterol. Thus specific peptide chirality is not required for interaction with cholesterol-containing membranes. However, a specific chirality of membrane lipids is required for peptide-induced formation of cholesterol-rich domains.


  • Epand, Richard
  • Rychnovsky, Scott D
  • Belani, Jitendra D
  • Epand, Raquel F

publication date

  • September 1, 2005

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