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See detailThe Biologically Important Surfactin Lipopeptide Induces Nanoripples In Supported Lipid Bilayers
Brasseur, Robert ULg; Braun, N.; El Kirat, K. et al

in Langmuir (2007), 23(19), 9769-72

Under specific conditions, lipid membranes form ripple phases with intriguing nanoscale undulations. Here, we show using in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) that the biologically important surfactin ... [more ▼]

Under specific conditions, lipid membranes form ripple phases with intriguing nanoscale undulations. Here, we show using in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) that the biologically important surfactin lipopeptide induces nanoripples of 30 nm periodicity in dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayers at 25 degrees (i.e. well below the pretransition temperature of DPPC). Whereas most undulations formed the classical straight orientation with characteristic angle changes of 120 degrees , some of them also displayed unusual circular orientations. Strikingly, ripple structures were formed at 15% surfactin but were rarely or never observed at 5 and 30% surfactin, emphasizing the important role played by the surfactin concentration. Theoretical simulations corroborated the AFM data by revealing the formation of stable surfactin/lipid assemblies with positive curvature. [less ▲]

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See detailLipid-Destabilizing Properties Of The Hydrophobic Helices H8 And H9 From Colicin E1
Lins, Laurence ULg; El Kirat, K.; Charloteaux, Benoît ULg et al

in Molecular Membrane Biology (2007), 24(5-6), 419-30

Colicins are toxic proteins produced by Escherichia coli that must cross the membrane to exert their activity. The lipid insertion of their pf domain is linked to a conformational change which enables the ... [more ▼]

Colicins are toxic proteins produced by Escherichia coli that must cross the membrane to exert their activity. The lipid insertion of their pf domain is linked to a conformational change which enables the penetration of a hydrophobic hairpin. They provide useful models to more generally study insertion of proteins, channel formation and protein translocation in and across membranes. In this paper, we study the lipid-destabilizing properties of helices H8 and H9 forming the hydrophobic hairpin of colicin E1. Modelling analysis suggests that those fragments behave like tilted peptides. The latter are characterized by an asymmetric distribution of their hydrophobic residues when helical. They are able to interact with a hydrophobic/hydrophilic interface (such as a lipid membrane) and to destabilize the organized system into which they insert. Fluorescence techniques using labelled liposomes clearly show that H9, and H8 to a lesser extent, destabilize lipid particles, by inducing fusion and leakage. AFM assays clearly indicate that H8 and especially H9 induce membrane fragilization. Holes in the membrane are even observed in the presence of H9. This behaviour is close to what is seen with viral fusion peptides. Those results suggest that the peptides could be involved in the toroidal pore formation of colicin E1, notably by disturbing the lipids and facilitating the insertion of the other, more hydrophilic, helices that will form the pore. Since tilted, lipid-destabilizing fragments are also common to membrane proteins and to signal sequences, we suggest that tilted peptides should have an ubiquitous role in the mechanism of insertion of proteins into membranes. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Siv Tilted Peptide Induces Cylindrical Reverse Micelles In Supported Lipid Bilayers
El Kirat, K.; Dufrene, Yf.; Lins, Laurence ULg et al

in Biochemistry (2006), 45(30), 9336-41

Elucidation of the molecular mechanism leading to biomembrane fusion is a challenging issue in current biomedical research in view of its involvement in controlling cellular functions and in mediating ... [more ▼]

Elucidation of the molecular mechanism leading to biomembrane fusion is a challenging issue in current biomedical research in view of its involvement in controlling cellular functions and in mediating various important diseases. According to the generally admitted stalk mechanism described for membrane fusion, negatively curved lipids may play a central role during the early steps of the process. In this study, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to address the crucial question of whether negatively curved lipids influence the interaction of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) fusion peptide with model membranes. To this end, dioleoylphosphatidylcholine/dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC/DPPC) bilayers containing 0.5 mol % dioleoylphosphatidic acid (DOPA) were incubated with the SIV peptide and imaged in real time using AFM. After a short incubation time, we observed a 1.9 nm reduction in the thickness of the DPPC domains, reflecting either interdigitation or fluidization of lipids. After longer incubation times, these depressed DPPC domains evolved into elevated domains, composed of nanorod structures protruding several nanometers above the bilayer surface and attributed to cylindrical reverse micelles. Such DOPC/DPPC/DOPA bilayer modifications were never observed with nontilted peptides. Accordingly, this is the first time that AFM reveals the formation of cylindrical reverse micelles in lipid bilayers promoted by fusogenic peptides. [less ▲]

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See detailNanoscale Modification Of Supported Lipid Membranes: Synergetic Effect Of Phospholipase D And Viral Fusion Peptides
El Kirat, K.; Lins, Laurence ULg; Brasseur, Robert ULg et al

in Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (2005), 1(1), 1-8

Understanding the molecular bases of biomembrane fusion events is a challenging issue in current biomedical research in view of its involvement in controlling cellular functions and in mediating various ... [more ▼]

Understanding the molecular bases of biomembrane fusion events is a challenging issue in current biomedical research in view of its involvement in controlling cellular functions and in mediating various important diseases. In this study, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to address the crucial question as to whether negatively curved lipids influence the ability of a viral fusion peptide to perturb the organization of supported lipid bilayers. To this end, an original approach was developed that makes use of an AFM tip functionalized with phospholipase D (PLD) enzymes to generate in situ small amounts of negatively curved phosphatidic acid (PA) in mixed dioleoylphosphatidylcholine/dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC/DPPC) bilayers. Real-time AFM imaging revealed that this nanomodification dramatically enhanced subsequent interaction with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) fusion peptide. At short incubation time, the SIV peptide induced a 1.9 nm thickness reduction of the DPPC domains, reflecting either interdigitation or fluidification of the lipids. At longer incubation time, these depressed domains transformed into elevated striated domains, protruding one to several nanometers above the bilayer surface. Two complementary experiments, i.e. addition of the peptide onto DOPC/DPPC/DOPA bilayers or onto DOPC/DPPC bilayers pretreated with a PLD solution, confirmed that both PA and SIV peptides are required to induce depressed and striated domains. Accordingly, this is the first time that a high-resolution imaging technique is used to demonstrate that negatively curved lipids affect the membrane activity of fusion peptides. We believe the nanoscale approach presented here, i.e. use of enzyme-functionalized AFM tips to modify lipid bilayers, will find exciting new applications in nanobiotechnology for the design of biomimetic surfaces. [less ▲]

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See detailFusogenic Tilted Peptides Induce Nanoscale Holes In Supported Phosphatidylcholine Bilayers
El Kirat, K.; Lins, Laurence ULg; Brasseur, Robert ULg et al

in Langmuir (2005), 21(7), 3116-21

Tilted peptides are known to insert in lipid bilayers with an oblique orientation, thereby destabilizing membranes and facilitating membrane fusion processes. Here, we report the first direct ... [more ▼]

Tilted peptides are known to insert in lipid bilayers with an oblique orientation, thereby destabilizing membranes and facilitating membrane fusion processes. Here, we report the first direct visualization of the interaction of tilted peptides with lipid membranes using in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging. Phase-separated supported dioleoylphosphatidylcholine/dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC/DPPC) bilayers were prepared by fusion of small unilamellar vesicles and imaged in buffer solution, in the absence and in the presence of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) peptide. The SIV peptide was shown to induce the rapid appearance of nanometer scale bilayer holes within the DPPC gel domains, while keeping the domain shape unaltered. We attribute this behavior to a local weakening and destabilization of the DPPC domains due to the oblique insertion of the peptide molecules. These results were directly correlated with the fusogenic activity of the peptide as determined using fluorescently labeled DOPC/DPPC liposomes. By contrast, the nontilted ApoE peptide did not promote liposome fusion and did not induce bilayer holes but caused slight erosion of the DPPC domains. In conclusion, this work provides the first direct evidence for the production of stable, well-defined nanoholes in lipid bilayer domains by the SIV peptide, a behavior that we have shown to be specifically related to the tilted character of the peptide. A molecular mechanism underlying spontaneous insertion of the SIV peptide within lipid bilayers and the subsequent removal of bilayer patches is proposed, and its relevance to membrane fusion processes is discussed. [less ▲]

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