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Structural interactions between lipids, water and S1-S4 voltage-sensing domains.


ABSTRACT: Membrane proteins serve crucial signaling and transport functions, yet relatively little is known about their structures in membrane environments or how lipids interact with these proteins. For voltage-activated ion channels, X-ray structures suggest that the mobile voltage-sensing S4 helix would be exposed to the membrane, and functional studies reveal that lipid modification can profoundly alter channel activity. Here, we use solid-state NMR to investigate structural interactions of lipids and water with S1-S4 voltage-sensing domains and to explore whether lipids influence the structure of the protein. Our results demonstrate that S1-S4 domains exhibit extensive interactions with lipids and that these domains are heavily hydrated when embedded in a membrane. We also find evidence for preferential interactions of anionic lipids with S1-S4 domains and that these interactions have lifetimes on the timescale of ? 10(-3)s. Arg residues within S1-S4 domains are well hydrated and are positioned in close proximity to lipids, exhibiting local interactions with both lipid headgroups and acyl chains. Comparative studies with a positively charged lipid lacking a phosphodiester group reveal that this lipid modification has only modest effects on the structure and hydration of S1-S4 domains. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Arg residues in S1-S4 voltage-sensing domains reside in close proximity to the hydrophobic interior of the membrane yet are well hydrated, a requirement for carrying charge and driving protein motions in response to changes in membrane voltage.

SUBMITTER: Krepkiy D 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3616881 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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