Investigating the Disordered and Membrane-Active Peptide A-Cage-C Using Conformational Ensembles
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionMolecules. 2021, 26 (12), 3607. 10.3390/molecules26123607
The driving forces and conformational pathways leading to amphitropic protein-membrane binding and in some cases also to protein misfolding and aggregation is the subject of intensive research. In this study, a chimeric polypeptide, A-Cage-C, derived from α-Lactalbumin is investigated with the aim of elucidating conformational changes promoting interaction with bilayers. From previous studies, it is known that A-Cage-C causes membrane leakages associated with the sporadic formation of amorphous aggregates on solid-supported bilayers. Here we express and purify double-labelled A-Cage-C and prepare partially deuterated bicelles as a membrane mimicking system. We investigate A-Cage-C in the presence and absence of these bicelles at non-binding (pH 7.0) and binding (pH 4.5) conditions. Using in silico analyses, NMR, conformational clustering, and Molecular Dynamics, we provide tentative insights into the conformations of bound and unbound A-Cage-C. The conformation of each state is dynamic and samples a large amount of overlapping conformational space. We identify one of the clusters as likely representing the binding conformation and conclude tentatively that the unfolding around the central W23 segment and its reorientation may be necessary for full intercalation at binding conditions (pH 4.5). We also see evidence for an overall elongation of A-Cage-C in the presence of model bilayers.