Gap junction membrane channels mediate electrical and metabolic coupling between adjacent cells. The structure of a recombinant cardiac gap junction channel was determined by electron crystallography at resolutions of 7.5 angstroms in the membrane plane and 21 angstroms in the vertical direction. The dodecameric channel was formed by the end-to-end docking of two hexamers, each of which displayed 24 rods of density in the membrane interior, which is consistent with an alpha-helical conformation for the four transmembrane domains of each connexin subunit. The transmembrane alpha-helical rods contrasted with the double-layered appearance of the extracellular domains. Although not indicative for a particular type of secondary structure, the protein density that formed the extracellular vestibule provided a tight seal to exclude the exchange of substances with the extracellular milieu. (+info)
(2/7162) Gating connexin 43 channels reconstituted in lipid vesicles by mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation.
The regulation of gap junctional permeability by phosphorylation was examined in a model system in which connexin 43 (Cx43) gap junction hemichannels were reconstituted in lipid vesicles. Cx43 was immunoaffinity-purified from rat brain, and Cx43 channels were reconstituted into unilamellar phospholipid liposomes. The activities of the reconstituted channels were measured by monitoring liposome permeability. Liposomes containing the Cx43 protein were fractionated on the basis of permeability to sucrose using sedimentation in an iso-osmolar density gradient. The gradient allowed separation of the sucrose-permeable and -impermeable liposomes. Liposomes that were permeable to sucrose were also permeable to the communicating dye molecule lucifer yellow. Permeability, and therefore activity of the reconstituted Cx43 channels, were directly dependent on the state of Cx43 phosphorylation. The permeability of liposomes containing Cx43 channels was increased by treatment of liposomes with calf intestinal phosphatase. Moreover, liposomes formed with Cx43 that had been dephosphorylated by calf intestinal phosphatase treatment showed increased permeability to sucrose. The role of phosphorylation in the gating mechanism of Cx43 channels was supported further by the observation that phosphorylation of Cx43 by mitogen-activated protein kinase reversibly reduced the permeability of liposomes containing dephosphorylated Cx43. Our results show a direct correlation between gap junctional permeability and the phosphorylation state of Cx43. (+info)
(3/7162) Calculation of a Gap restoration in the membrane skeleton of the red blood cell: possible role for myosin II in local repair.
Human red blood cells contain all of the elements involved in the formation of nonmuscle actomyosin II complexes (V. M. Fowler. 1986. J. Cell. Biochem. 31:1-9; 1996. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 8:86-96). No clear function has yet been attributed to these complexes. Using a mathematical model for the structure of the red blood cell spectrin skeleton (M. J. Saxton. 1992. J. Theor. Biol. 155:517-536), we have explored a possible role for myosin II bipolar minifilaments in the restoration of the membrane skeleton, which may be locally damaged by major mechanical or chemical stress. We propose that the establishment of stable links between distant antiparallel actin protofilaments after a local myosin II activation may initiate the repair of the disrupted area. We show that it is possible to define conditions in which the calculated number of myosin II minifilaments bound to actin protofilaments is consistent with the estimated number of myosin II minifilaments present in the red blood cells. A clear restoration effect can be observed when more than 50% of the spectrin polymers of a defined area are disrupted. It corresponds to a significant increase in the spectrin density in the protein free region of the membrane. This may be involved in a more complex repair process of the red blood cell membrane, which includes the vesiculation of the bilayer and the compaction of the disassembled spectrin network. (+info)
(4/7162) Solid-state NMR and hydrogen-deuterium exchange in a bilayer-solubilized peptide: structural and mechanistic implications.
Hydrogen-deuterium exchange has been monitored by solid-state NMR to investigate the structure of gramicidin M in a lipid bilayer and to investigate the mechanisms for polypeptide insertion into a lipid bilayer. Through exchange it is possible to observe 15N-2H dipolar interactions in oriented samples that yield precise structural constraints. In separate experiments the pulse sequence SFAM was used to measure dipolar distances in this structure, showing that the dimer is antiparallel. The combined use of orientational and distance constraints is shown to be a powerful structural approach. By monitoring the hydrogen-deuterium exchange at different stages in the insertion of peptides into a bilayer environment it is shown that dimeric gramicidin is inserted into the bilayer intact, i.e., without separating into monomer units. The exchange mechanism is investigated for various sites and support for a relayed imidic acid mechanism is presented. Both acid and base catalyzed mechanisms may be operable. The nonexchangeable sites clearly define a central core to which water is inaccessible or hydroxide or hydronium ion is not even momentarily stable. This provides strong evidence that this is a nonconducting state. (+info)
(5/7162) Molecular dynamics study of substance P peptides in a biphasic membrane mimic.
Two neuropeptides, substance P (SP) and SP-tyrosine-8 (SP-Y8), have been studied by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in a TIP3P water/CCl4 biphasic solvent system as a mimic for the water-membrane system. Initially, distance restraints derived from NMR nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOE) were incorporated in the restrained MD (RMD) in the equilibration stage of the simulation. The starting orientation/position of the peptides for the MD simulation was either parallel to the water/CCl4 interface or in a perpendicular/insertion mode. In both cases the peptides equilibrated and adopted a near-parallel orientation within approximately 250 ps. After equilibration, the conformation and orientation of the peptides, the solvation of both the backbone and the side chain of the residues, hydrogen bonding, and the dynamics of the peptides were analyzed from trajectories obtained in the RMD or the subsequent free MD (where the NOE restraints were removed). These analyses showed that the peptide backbone of nearly all residues are either solvated by water or are hydrogen-bonded. This is seen to be an important factor against the insertion mode of interaction. Most of the interactions with the hydrophobic phase come from the hydrophobic interactions of the side chains of Pro-4, Phe-7, Phe-8, Leu-10, and Met-11 for SP, and Phe-7, Leu-10, Met-11 and, to a lesser extent, Tyr-8 in SP-Y8. Concerted conformational transitions took place in the time frame of hundreds of picoseconds. The concertedness of the transition was due to the tendency of the peptide to maintain the necessary secondary structure to position the peptide properly with respect to the water/CCl4 interface. (+info)
(6/7162) Molecular dynamics study of substance P peptides partitioned in a sodium dodecylsulfate micelle.
Two neuropeptides, substance P (SP) and SP-tyrosine-8 (SP-Y8), have been studied by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in an explicit sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) micelle. Initially, distance restraints derived from NMR nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOE) were incorporated in the restrained MD (RMD) during the equilibration stage of the simulation. It was shown that when SP-Y8 was initially placed in an insertion (perpendicular) configuration, the peptide equilibrated to a surface-bound (parallel) configuration in approximately 450 ps. After equilibration, the conformation and orientation of the peptides, the solvation of both the backbone and the side chain of the residues, hydrogen bonding, and the dynamics of the peptides were analyzed from trajectories obtained from the RMD or the subsequent free MD (where the NOE restraints were removed). These analyses showed that the peptide backbones of all residues are either solvated by water or are hydrogen-bonded. This is seen to be an important factor against the insertion mode of interaction. Most of the interactions come from the hydrophobic interaction between the side chains of Lys-3, Pro-4, Phe-7, Phe-8, Leu-10, and Met-11 for SP, from Lys-3, Phe-7, Leu-10, and Met-11 in SP-Y8, and the micellar interior. Significant interactions, electrostatic and hydrogen bonding, between the N-terminal residues, Arg-Pro-Lys, and the micellar headgroups were observed. These latter interactions served to affect both the structure and, especially, the flexibility, of the N-terminus. The results from simulation of the same peptides in a water/CCl4 biphasic cell were compared with the results of the present study, and the validity of using the biphasic system as an approximation for peptide-micelle or peptide-bilayer systems is discussed. (+info)
(7/7162) Charge pairing of headgroups in phosphatidylcholine membranes: A molecular dynamics simulation study.
Molecular dynamics simulation of the hydrated dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) bilayer membrane in the liquid-crystalline phase was carried out for 5 ns to study the interaction among DMPC headgroups in the membrane/water interface region. The phosphatidylcholine headgroup contains a positively charged choline group and negatively charged phosphate and carbonyl groups, although it is a neutral molecule as a whole. Our previous study (Pasenkiewicz-Gierula, M., Y. Takaoka, H. Miyagawa, K. Kitamura, and A. Kusumi. 1997. J. Phys. Chem. 101:3677-3691) showed the formation of water cross-bridges between negatively charged groups in which a water molecule is simultaneously hydrogen bonded to two DMPC molecules. Water bridges link 76% of DMPC molecules in the membrane. In the present study we show that relatively stable charge associations (charge pairs) are formed between the positively and negatively charged groups of two DMPC molecules. Charge pairs link 93% of DMPC molecules in the membrane. Water bridges and charge pairs together form an extended network of interactions among DMPC headgroups linking 98% of all membrane phospholipids. The average lifetimes of DMPC-DMPC associations via charge pairs, water bridges and both, are at least 730, 1400, and over 1500 ps, respectively. However, these associations are dynamic states and they break and re-form several times during their lifetime. (+info)
(8/7162) Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of lipid translocation in biological membranes.
A theoretical analysis of the lipid translocation in cellular bilayer membranes is presented. We focus on an integrative model of active and passive transport processes determining the asymmetrical distribution of the major lipid components between the monolayers. The active translocation of the aminophospholipids phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine is mathematically described by kinetic equations resulting from a realistic ATP-dependent transport mechanism. Concerning the passive transport of the aminophospholipids as well as of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, and cholesterol, two different approaches are used. The first treatment makes use of thermodynamic flux-force relationships. Relevant forces are transversal concentration differences of the lipids as well as differences in the mechanical states of the monolayers due to lateral compressions. Both forces, originating primarily from the operation of an aminophospholipid translocase, are expressed as functions of the lipid compositions of the two monolayers. In the case of mechanical forces, lipid-specific parameters such as different molecular surface areas and compression force constants are taken into account. Using invariance principles, it is shown how the phenomenological coefficients depend on the total lipid amounts. In a second approach, passive transport is analyzed in terms of kinetic mechanisms of carrier-mediated translocation, where mechanical effects are incorporated into the translocation rate constants. The thermodynamic as well as the kinetic approach are applied to simulate the time-dependent redistribution of the lipid components in human red blood cells. In the thermodynamic model the steady-state asymmetrical lipid distribution of erythrocyte membranes is simulated well under certain parameter restrictions: 1) the time scales of uncoupled passive transbilayer movement must be different among the lipid species; 2) positive cross-couplings of the passive lipid fluxes are needed, which, however, may be chosen lipid-unspecifically. A comparison of the thermodynamic and the kinetic approaches reveals that antiport mechanisms for passive lipid movements may be excluded. Simulations with kinetic symport mechanisms are in qualitative agreement with experimental data but show discrepancies in the asymmetrical distribution for sphingomyelin. (+info)