Dynamic measurements of membrane insertion potential of synthetic cell penetrating peptides.
ABSTRACT: Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been established as excellent candidates for mediating drug delivery into cells. When designing synthetic CPPs for drug delivery applications, it is important to understand their ability to penetrate the cell membrane. In this paper, anionic or zwitterionic phospholipid monolayers at the air-water interface are used as model cell membranes to monitor the membrane insertion potential of synthetic CPPs. The insertion potential of CPPs having different cationic and hydrophobic amino acids were recorded using a Langmuir monolayer approach that records peptide adsorption to model membranes. Fluorescence microscopy was used to visualize alterations in phospholipid packing due to peptide insertion. All CPPs had the highest penetration potential in the presence of anionic phospholipids. In addition, two of three amphiphilic CPPs inserted into zwitterionic phospholipids, but none of the hydrophilic CPPs did. All the CPPs studied induced disruptions in phospholipid packing and domain morphology, which were most pronounced for amphiphilic CPPs. Overall, small changes to amino acids and peptide sequences resulted in dramatically different insertion potentials and membrane reorganization. Designers of synthetic CPPs for efficient intracellular drug delivery should consider small nuances in CPP electrostatic and hydrophobic properties.
Project description:Noncovalently condensed complexes of genetic material, cell penetrating peptides (CPPs), and calcium chloride present a nonviral route to improve transfection efficiency of nucleic acids (e.g., pDNA and siRNA). However, the exact mechanisms of membrane insertion and delivery of macromolecule complexes to intracellular locations as well as their stability in the intracellular environment are not understood. We show that calcium condensed gene complexes containing different hydrophilic (i.e., dTAT, K9, R9, and RH9) and amphiphilic (i.e., RA9, RL9, and RW9) CPPs formed stable cationic complexes of hydrodynamic radii 100 nm at neutral pH. However, increasing the acidity caused the complexes to become neutral or anionic and increase in size. Using zwitterionic and anionic phospholipid monolayers as models that mimic the membrane composition of the outer leaflet of cell membranes and intracellular vesicles and pHs that mimic the intracellular environment, we study the membrane insertion potential of these seven gene complexes (CPP/pDNA/Ca(2+) complexes) into model membranes. At neutral pH, all gene complexes demonstrated the highest insertion potential into anionic phospholipid membranes, with complexes containing amphiphilic peptides showing the maximum insertion. However, at acidic pH, the gene complexes demonstrated maximum monolayer insertion into zwitterionic lipids, irrespective of the chemical composition of the CPP in the complexes. Our results suggest that in the neutral environment the complexes are unable to penetrate the zwitterionic lipid membranes but can penetrate through the anionic lipid membranes. However, the acidic pH mimicking the local environment in the late endosomes leads to a significant increase in adsorption of the complexes to zwitterionic lipid headgroups and decreases for anionic headgroups. These membrane-gene complex interactions may be responsible for the ability of the complexes to efficiently enter the intracellular environment through endocytosis and escape from the endosomes to effectively deliver their genetic payload.
Project description:Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short peptides that can translocate and transport cargoes into the intracellular milieu by crossing biological membranes. The mode of interaction and internalization of cell-penetrating peptides has long been controversial. While their interaction with anionic membranes is quite well understood, the insertion and behavior of CPPs in zwitterionic membranes, a major lipid component of eukaryotic cell membranes, is poorly studied. Herein, we investigated the membrane insertion of RW16 into zwitterionic membranes, a versatile CPP that also presents antibacterial and antitumor activities. Using complementary approaches, including NMR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism, and molecular dynamic simulations, we determined the high-resolution structure of RW16 and measured its membrane insertion and orientation properties into zwitterionic membranes. Altogether, these results contribute to explaining the versatile properties of this peptide toward zwitterionic lipids.
Project description:In the present study, 13-residue peptides with sequences corresponding to the native N-terminal segment of pulmonary SP-C (surfactant protein C) have been synthesized and their interaction with phospholipid bilayers characterized. The peptides are soluble in aqueous media but associate spontaneously with bilayers composed of either zwitterionic (phosphatidylcholine) or anionic (phosphatidylglycerol) phospholipids. The peptides show higher affinity for anionic than for zwitterionic membranes. Interaction of the peptides with both zwitterionic and anionic membranes promotes phospholipid vesicle aggregation, and leakage of the aqueous content of the vesicles. The lipid-peptide interaction includes a significant hydrophobic component for both zwitterionic and anionic membranes, although the interaction with phosphatidylglycerol bilayers is also electrostatic in nature. The effects of the SP-C N-terminal peptides on the membrane structure are mediated by significant perturbations of the packing order and mobility of phospholipid acyl chain segments deep in the bilayer, as detected by differential scanning calorimetry and spin-label ESR. These results suggest that the N-terminal region of SP-C, even in the absence of acylation, possesses an intrinsic propensity to interact with and perturb phospholipid bilayers, thereby potentially facilitating SP-C promoting bilayer-monolayer transitions at the alveolar spaces.
Project description:The focus of this work is to elucidate how phospholipid composition can modulate lipid nanoparticle interactions in phospholipid monolayer systems. We report on alterations in lipid domain formation induced by anionically engineered carbon nanodiamonds (ECNs) as a function of lipid headgroup charge and alkyl chain saturation. Using surface pressure vs area isotherms, monolayer compressibility, and fluorescence microscopy, we found that anionic ECNs induced domain shape alterations in zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine lipids, irrespective of the lipid alkyl chain saturation, even when the surface pressure vs area isotherms did not show any significant changes. Bean-shaped structures characteristic of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) were converted to multilobed, fractal, or spiral domains as a result of exposure to ECNs, indicating that ECNs lower the line tension between domains in the case of zwitterionic lipids. For membrane systems containing anionic phospholipids, ECN-induced changes in domain packing were related to the electrostatic interactions between the anionic ECNs and the anionic lipid headgroups, even when zwitterionic lipids are present in excess. By comparing the measured size distributions with our recently developed theory derived by minimizing the free energy associated with the domain energy and mixing entropy, we found that the change in line tension induced by anionic ECNs is dominated by the charge in the condensed lipid domains. Atomic force microscopy images of the transferred anionic films confirm that the location of the anionic ECNs in the lipid monolayers is also modulated by the charge on the condensed lipid domains. Because biological membranes such as lung surfactants contain both saturated and unsaturated phospholipids with different lipid headgroup charges, our results suggest that when studying potential adverse effects of nanoparticles on biological systems the role of lipid compositions cannot be neglected.
Project description:Peptides and analogs such as peptide nucleic acids (PNA) are promising tools and therapeutics, but the cell membrane remains a barrier to intracellular targets. Conjugation to classical cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) such as pTat<sub>48-60</sub> (tat) and pAntp<sub>43-68</sub> (penetratin) facilitates delivery; however, efficiencies are low. Lack of explicit design principles hinders rational improvement. Here, we use synthetic molecular evolution (SME) to identify gain-of-function CPPs with dramatically improved ability to deliver cargoes to cells at low concentration. A CPP library containing 8192 tat/penetratin hybrid peptides coupled to an 18-residue PNA is screened using the HeLa pTRE-LucIVS2 splice correction reporter system. The daughter CPPs identified are one to two orders of magnitude more efficient than the parent sequences at delivery of PNA, and also deliver a dye cargo and an anionic peptide cargo. The significant increase in performance following a single iteration of SME demonstrates the power of this approach to peptide sequence optimization.
Project description:Amphiphilic alpha-helices are common motifs used in numerous biological systems including membrane channels/pores and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), and binding proteins, and a variety of synthetic biomaterials. Previously, an amphiphilic peptide with lysine-containing motifs was shown to reversibly bind the anionic porphyrin meso-Tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (TPPS4 2-) and promote the formation of excitonically coupled conductive J-aggregates. The work presented here focuses on the use of this amphiphilic peptide and derivatives as a potential antimicrobial agent. AMPs are naturally occurring components of the innate immune system, which selectively target and kill bacteria. Sequence derivatives were synthesized in which the position of the Trp, used as a fluorescence reporter, was changed. Additional variants were synthesized where the hydrophobic amino acids were replaced with Ala to reduce net hydrophobicity or where the cationic Lys residues were replaced with diaminopropionic acid (Dap). All peptide sequences retained the ability to bind TPPS4 2- and promote the formation of J-aggregates. The peptides all exhibited a preference for binding anionic lipid vesicles compared to zwitterionic bilayers. The Trp position did not impact antimicrobial activity, but the substituted peptides exhibited markedly lower efficacy. The Dap-containing peptide was only active against E. coli and P. aeruginosa, while the Ala-substituted peptide was inactive at the concentrations tested. This trend was also evident in bacterial membrane permeabilization. The results indicate that the amphiphilic porphyrin binding peptides can also be used as antimicrobial peptides. The cationic nature is a driver in binding to lipid bilayers, but the overall hydrophobicity is important for antimicrobial activity and membrane disruption.
Project description:Gp36 is the virus envelope glycoproteins catalyzing the fusion of the feline immunodeficiency virus with the host cells. The peptide C8 is a tryptophan-rich peptide corresponding to the fragment 770W-I777 of gp36 exerting antiviral activity by binding the membrane cell and inhibiting the virus entry. Several factors, including the membrane surface charge, regulate the binding of C8 to the lipid membrane. Based on the evidence that imperceptible variation of membrane charge may induce a dramatic effect in several critical biological events, in the present work we investigate the effect induced by systematic variation of charge in phospholipid bilayers on the aptitude of C8 to interact with lipid membranes, the tendency of C8 to assume specific conformational states and the re-organization of the lipid bilayer upon the interaction with C8. Accordingly, employing a bottom-up multiscale protocol, including CD, NMR, ESR spectroscopy, atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, and confocal microscopy, we studied C8 in six membrane models composed of different ratios of zwitterionic/negatively charged phospholipids. Our data show that charge content modulates C8-membrane binding with significant effects on the peptide conformations. C8 in micelle solution or in SUV formed by DPC or DOPC zwitterionic phospholipids assumes regular ?-turn structures that are progressively destabilized as the concentration of negatively charged SDS or DOPG phospholipids exceed 40%. Interaction of C8 with zwitterionic membrane surface is mediated by Trp1 and Trp4 that are deepened in the membrane, forming H-bonds and cation-? interactions with the DOPC polar heads. Additional stabilizing salt bridge interactions involve Glu2 and Asp3. MD and ESR data show that the C8-membrane affinity increases as the concentration of zwitterionic phospholipid increases. In the lipid membrane characterized by an excess of zwitterionic phospholipids, C8 is adsorbed at the membrane interface, inducing a stiffening of the outer region of the DOPC bilayer. However, the bound of C8 significantly perturbs the whole organization of lipid bilayer resulting in membrane remodeling. These events, measurable as a variation of the bilayer thickness, are the onset mechanism of the membrane fusion and vesicle tubulation observed in confocal microscopy by imaging zwitterionic MLVs in the presence of C8 peptide.
Project description:A series of new peptide dendrimers with amphiphilic surface, designed around a dendronized ornithine (Orn) core were synthesized and characterized by ESI-MS, ¹H-, ¹³C- NMR, and CD spectrometry. An improved antimicrobial potency against S. aureus and E. coli was detected as a result of an increased charge, higher branching and variable lipophilicity of the residues located at the C-terminus. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values indicated that the selected dendrimers were not sensitive to the physiological concentration of Na? and K? ions (100 mM), but expressed reduced potency at 10 mM concentration of Mg²? and Ca²? ions. Circular dichroism (CD) curves measured under various conditions revealed structure and solvent-dependent curve evolution. ESI-MS studies of gas-phase interactions between selected dendrimers and both anionic (DMPG) and neutral (DMPC) phospholipids revealed the presence of variously charged dendrimer/phospholipid aggregates with 1:1 to 1:5 stoichiometry. The collision-induced fragmentation (CID) of the most abundant [dendrimer/phospholipid]²? ions of the 1:1 stoichiometry demonstrated that the studied dendrimers formed stronger complexes with anionic DMPG. Both phospholipids have higher affinity towards dendrimers with a more compact structure. Higher differences in CID energy necessary for dissociation of 50% of the complex formed by dendrimers with DMPG vs. DMPC (?CID??) correlate with a lower hemotoxicity. Mass spectrometry results suggest that for a particular group of compounds the ?CID?? might be one of the important factors explaining selectivity of antimicrobial peptides and their branched analogs targeting the bacterial membrane. Both circular dichroism and mass spectrometry studies demonstrated that dendrimers of N(?)- and N(?)-series possess a different conformation in solution and different affinity to model phospholipids, what might influence their specific microbicidal mechanism.
Project description:Considerable interest is currently focused on the interactions of beta-2 glycoprotein I (beta2GPI) and anti-phospholipid antibodies with anionic phospholipids in an attempt to understand the association between these antibodies and clinical diseases such as thrombosis. The interactions of beta2GPI and anionic phospholipids have only been characterized partially, and the physiological role of this glycoprotein remains uncertain. In this study we have explored in detail the physical and phospholipid-binding characteristics of a number of beta2GPI preparations. We have found (i) that perchloric acid-purification methods are damaging to beta2GPI during purification, (ii) that the dissociation constants of the various preparations for phosphatidylserine vary between 0. 1-2 microM and are considerably weaker than previously reported, (iii) that considerable differences in affinity of the various beta2GPI preparations for anionic phospholipids are obtained when comparing anionic phospholipids immobilized to a solid-phase versus phospholipid assembled in unilamellar vesicles, (iv) that the integrity of the fifth domain of beta2GPI is important for binding immobilized anionic phospholipid but not especially important in binding vesicular anionic phospholipid, and (v) that beta2GPI preparations with differing isoelectric species content bind anionic phospholipids differently, suggesting that varying glycosylation and/or protein polymorphisms impact upon phospholipid binding. These results highlight the importance of assessing the determinants of the interaction of beta2GPI with anionic phospholipids assembled in unilamellar vesicles.
Project description:sn-Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GlpD) from Escherichia coli is a peripheral membrane enzyme involved in respiratory electron transfer. For it to display its enzymic activity, binding to the inner membrane is required. The way the enzyme interacts with the membrane and how this controls activity has not been elucidated. In the present study we provide evidence for direct protein-lipid interaction. Using the monolayer technique, we observed insertion of GlpD into lipid monolayers with a clear preference for anionic phospholipids. GlpD variants with point mutations in their predicted amphipathic helices showed a decreased ability to penetrate anionic phospholipid monolayers. From these data we propose that membrane binding of GlpD occurs by insertion of an amphipathic helix into the acyl-chain region of lipids mediated by negatively charged phospholipids.