Relationship of membrane sidedness to the effects of the lipophosphoglycan of Leishmania donovani on the fusion of influenza virus
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Cells expressing the influenza hemagglutinin protein were fused to planar lipid bilayers containing the viral receptor GD1a at pH 5.0. An amphiphile known to alter membrane properties is lipophosphoglycan (LPG). This glycoconjugate was added from aqueous solution to either the cis or the trans monolayer to examine its effects on the fusion process. LPG markedly inhibited the formation of fusion pores when present in the cis monolayer but LPG in the trans monolayer had no effect on the parameters of pore formation or on the properties of the pores. The N-terminal segment of the HA2 subunit of the influenza hemagglutinin protein is important for membrane fusion. The effect of LPG on the conformation and membrane insertion of a synthetic 20-amino-acid peptide, corresponding to the influenza fusion peptide, was examined at pH 5.0 by attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and by the fluorescence properties of the Trp residues of this peptide. It was found that cis LPG did not prevent insertion of the peptide into the membrane but it did alter the conformation of the membrane-inserted peptide from alpha-helix to beta-structure. The beta-structure was oriented along the bilayer normal. The effect of cis LPG on the conformation of the fusion peptide probably contributes to the observed inhibition of pore formation and lipid mixing. In contrast, trans LPG has no effect on the conformation or angle of membrane insertion of the peptide, nor does it affect pore formation by HA-expressing cells. The ineffectiveness of trans LPG, despite it having strong positive curvature-promoting properties, may be a consequence of the size of this amphiphile being too large to enter a fusion pore.
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