, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1077-1084
Date: 29 Oct 2012

Unusual titration of the membrane-bound artificial hemagglutinin fusion peptide

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E5 is a 20-residue-long analog of the fusion peptide from influenza hemagglutinin (GLFEAIAEFIEGGWEGLIEG). It has been suggested that two of its five glutamates, Glu11and Glu15, are critical in its pH-dependent membrane perturbation. To reveal their specific involvement, a pair of analogs with substitution of either Glu11 or Glu15 for Ala were synthesized. By analysis of the pH-dependence of the chemical shifts of protons of these peptides bound to dodecylphosphocholine micelles we found: (1) the peptides adopt an amphiphilic alpha-helical structure within residues 2–18, similar to the parent peptide; (2) the helix is significantly more disordered at neutral pH than at acidic pH for E5 peptide only; and (3) in E5 and mutant peptides the Glu11 and 15 residues have similar pK a values, higher than those of the other glutamates. This excludes their mutual interaction in E5, being a source of the elevated pK a values. We attribute this phenomenon to the presence of minor states caused by deepening of the Glu11 and 15 side-chains in the hydrophobic environment of the membrane. As the mid-pH of membrane-perturbation activity of E5 matches the pK a value of these glutamates, we conclude their presence contributes to the plasticity of the peptide and determines the pH-dependence of membrane perturbation caused by E5.