Effects of the ‘fusion peptide’ from measles virus on the structure of N-methyl dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine membranes and their fusion with Sendai virus
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31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-NMR) was used to study phospholipid organization in hydrated preparations of N-methyl dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine and a 'fusion peptide' with the sequence: FAGV-VLAGAALGVAAAAQI, which corresponds to the amino terminus of the F1 subunit of the membrane fusion protein of measles virus. These amino acids are believed to mediate syncytia formation, host-cell penetration and hemolysis by infectious virus. The presence of the peptide at 0.5 mole percent significantly facilitated the formation of isotropic 31P resonances. The effects at 1 mole percent peptide were substantially enhanced over the effects observed at 0.5 mole percent, leading to a decrease in the onset temperature of the formation of the isotropic 31P-NMR resonances by about 30 degrees C. The formation of such isotropic 31P-NMR resonances has been previously associated with an increased rate of fusion of large unilamellar vesicles composed of N-methyl dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine. Enhanced fusion of octadecyl rhodamine-labelled Sendai virus with N-methyl dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine large unilamellar vesicles was observed when the 'fusion peptide' was incorporated into the large unilamellar vesicles.
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