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Interaction of α-Synuclein and a Cell Penetrating Fusion Peptide with Higher Eukaryotic Cell Membranes Assessed by 19F NMR

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journal contribution
posted on 21.02.2016, 16:10 by Imola G. Zigoneanu, Gary J. Pielak
We show that fluorine NMR can be used to monitor the insertion and change in conformation of a 19F-labeled cell-penetrating peptide upon interacting with the cellular plasma membrane. α-Synuclein and a construct comprising a cell-penetrating peptide covalently attached to its N-terminus were studied. Important information about the interaction of the proteins with CHO-K1 cells was obtained by monitoring the diminution of 19F resonances of 3-fluoro-l-tyrosine labeled proteins. For α-synuclein, a decrease in the resonance from position 39 was observed indicating that only the N-terminal third region of the protein interacts with plasma membrane. However, when the fusion construct was incubated with the cells, a decrease in the resonance from the fusion peptide region was noted with no change in the resonances from α-synuclein region. Longer incubation, studied by using confocal fluorescence microscopy, revealed that the fusion construct translocates into the cells, but α-synuclein alone did not cross the membrane in significant amounts.