2D-NMR for 3D-Structure of Membrane Spanning Polypeptides: Gramacidin A and Fragments of Bacteriorhodopsin

  • V. F. Bystrov
  • A. S. Arseniev
  • I. L. Barsukov
  • A. L. Lomize
  • G. V. Abdulaeva
  • A. G. Sobol
  • I. V. Maslennikov
  • A. P. Golovanov
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 183)


Spatial structures of gramicidin A (GA) and the bacteriorhodopsin (BR) fragments in membrane mimetic milieu have been determined by NMR spectroscopy. GA incorporated into SDS micelles adopts the conformation of the monovalent cation selective transmembrane channel, i.e. head-to-head dimer formed by two right-handed π6.3 LD-helices. Interaction of impermeable Mn(II) ions with the channel was studied by paramagnetic induced proton relaxation and their preferred binding sites were evaluated. Additional results on synthetic GA analogs reveal structure-functional relationships and mechanism of channel unfolding. In contrast to micelles, organic solvents induce formation of four distinct GA double helices (parallel and antiparallel) with 5.6 residues per turn. In organic solvent in the presence of caesium salt the right-handed antiparallel double helix with 7.2 residues per turn becomes a dominant species. Discrepancies and similarities with the results obtained by other techniques are discussed.

BR and its proteolytic fragments when extracted by gel chromatography in methanol-chloroform mixture retain unique native conformations as detected by NMR and CD spectra. The tertiary structure of BR was probed by 19F NMR of [5-F]Trp BR. 2D NMR unequivocally defines conformations of the BR membrane spanning proteolytic and synthetic fragments as right-handed α-helices of about 20 residues each.

NMR strategy for spatial structure analysis of transmembrane polypeptides is discussed. The GA and BR study illustrates two feasible NMR approaches to the conformational analysis of intrinsic membrane polypeptides. The first utilizes the artificial quasimembrane system in which the molecule adopts its native structure. In the second use is made of the properly chosen solvent which preserves the conformation formed by the molecule in the natural membrane environment.


Double Helix Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate Micelle Purple Membrane Transmembrane Channel Helical Dimer 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. F. Bystrov
    • 1
  • A. S. Arseniev
    • 1
  • I. L. Barsukov
    • 1
  • A. L. Lomize
    • 1
  • G. V. Abdulaeva
    • 1
  • A. G. Sobol
    • 1
  • I. V. Maslennikov
    • 1
  • A. P. Golovanov
    • 1
  1. 1.Shemyakin Institute of Bioorganic ChemistryUSSR Academy of SciencesMoscowUSSR

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