TheαM1 transmembrane segment of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor interacts strongly with model membranes

de Planque, M.R.R., Rijkers, D.T.S., Liskamp, R.M.J. and Separovic, F. (2004) TheαM1 transmembrane segment of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor interacts strongly with model membranes. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 42(2), pp. 148-154. (doi: 10.1002/mrc.1326)

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The transmembrane domain of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) plays a role in the regulation of the activity of this important ligand-gated ion channel. The lipid composition of the host membrane affects conformational equilibria of the nAChR and several classes of inhibitors, most notably anaesthetics, interact directly or indirectly with the four transmembrane M-segments, M1–M4, of the nAChR subunits. It has proven difficult to gain insight into structure–function relationships of the M-segments in the context of the entire receptor and the biomembrane environment. However, model membrane systems are well suited to obtain detailed information about protein–lipid interactions. In this solid-state NMR study, we characterized interactions between a synthetic αM1 segment of the T. californica nAChR and model membranes of different phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipids. The results indicate that αM1 interacts strongly with PC bilayers: the peptide orders the lipid acyl chains and induces the formation of small vesicles, possibly through modification of the lateral pressure profile in the bilayer. The multilamellar vesicle morphology was stabilized by the presence of cholesterol, implying that either the rigidity or the bilayer thickness is a relevant parameter for αM1–membrane interactions, which also has been suggested for the entire nAChR. Our results suggest that the model systems are to a certain extent sensitive to peptide–bilayer hydrophobic matching requirements, but that the lipid response to hydrophobic mismatch alone is not the explanation. The effect of αM1 on different PC bilayers may indicate that the peptide is conformationally flexible, which in turn would support a membrane-mediated modulation of the conformation of transmembrane segments of the nAChR.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Liskamp, Professor Robert
Authors: de Planque, M.R.R., Rijkers, D.T.S., Liskamp, R.M.J., and Separovic, F.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry

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