Role of the Cationic C-Terminal Segment of Melittin on Membrane Fragmentation. - RIIP - Réseau International des Instituts Pasteur Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Physical Chemistry B Year : 2016

Role of the Cationic C-Terminal Segment of Melittin on Membrane Fragmentation.


The widespread distribution of cationic antimicrobial peptides capable of membrane fragmentation in nature underlines their importance to living organisms. In the present work, we determined the impact of the electrostatic interactions associated with the cationic C-terminal segment of melittin, a 26-amino acid peptide from bee venom (net charge +6), on its binding to model membranes and on the resulting fragmentation. In order to detail the role played by the C-terminal charges, we prepared a melittin analogue for which the four cationic amino acids in positions 21-24 were substituted with the polar residue citrulline, providing a peptide with the same length and amphiphilicity but with a lower net charge (+2). We compared the peptide bilayer affinity and the membrane fragmentation for bilayers prepared from 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC)/1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-l-serine (DPPS) mixtures. It is shown that neutralization of the C-terminal considerably increased melittin affinity for zwitterionic membranes. The unfavorable contribution associated with transferring the cationic C-terminal in a less polar environment was reduced, leaving the hydrophobic interactions, which drive the peptide insertion in bilayers, with limited counterbalancing interactions. The presence of negatively charged lipids (DPPS) in bilayers increased melittin binding by introducing attractive electrostatic interactions, the augmentation being, as expected, greater for native melittin than for its citrullinated analogue. The membrane fragmentation power of the peptide was shown to be controlled by electrostatic interactions and could be modulated by the charge carried by both the membrane and the lytic peptide. The analysis of the lipid composition of the extracted fragments from DPPC/DPPS bilayers revealed no lipid specificity. It is proposed that extended phase separations are more susceptible to lead to the extraction of a lipid species in a specific manner than a specific lipid-peptide affinity. The present work on the lipid extraction by melittin and citrullinated melittin with model membranes emphasizes the complex relation between the affinity, the lipid extraction/membrane fragmentation, and the lipid specificity.

Dates and versions

pasteur-01351754 , version 1 (04-08-2016)



Alexandre Therrien, Alain Fournier, Michel Lafleur. Role of the Cationic C-Terminal Segment of Melittin on Membrane Fragmentation.. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2016, 120 (17), pp.3993-4002. ⟨10.1021/acs.jpcb.5b11705⟩. ⟨pasteur-01351754⟩


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