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Systematic Design and Validation of Ion Channel Stabilization of Amphipathic α‑Helical Peptides Incorporating Tryptophan Residues

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journal contribution
posted on 29.12.2020, 10:13 by Keita Shigedomi, Satoshi Osada, Masoud Jelokhani-Niaraki, Hiroaki Kodama
Aromatic interactions such as π–π interaction and cation−π interaction are present in membrane proteins and play important roles in both structure and function. To systematically investigate the effect of aromatic residues on the structural stability and ion permeability of peptide-formed ion channels, we designed several peptides with one or two tryptophan (Trp) residues incorporated at different positions in amphipathic α-helical peptides. Circular dichroism (CD) studies revealed the preferable position of Trp residues for self-association in these designed peptides. Systematically designed di-substituted peptides with two Trps at each helix termini demonstrated intermolecular Trp–Trp interactions caused by aggregation. In the presence of liposomes, Trp on the hydrophilic face of the peptide enhanced interaction with the lipid membrane to increase the amphipathic α-helical contents. Appropriate incorporation and positioning of Trp enabled peptides to form more stable channels and had notable effects with Trp di-substituted peptides. The ion channel forming capability of a series of these peptides showed that the cation−π interactions between Trp and Lys residues in adjacent transmembrane helices contribute to remarkable stabilization of the channel structure.

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