References of "Vandekerckhove, J"
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See detailFunctional and profiling studies prove that prostate cancer upregulated neuroblastoma thymosin beta is the true human homologue of rat thymosin beta 15
Dhaese, S.; Jonckheere, V.; Goethals, M. et al

in FEBS Letters (2007), 581(25), 4809-4815

A peptide with a sequence identical to rat thymosin beta(Tb)15 was reported to be upregulated in human prostate cancer. However, in this report we provide evidence that TbNB, initially identified in human ... [more ▼]

A peptide with a sequence identical to rat thymosin beta(Tb)15 was reported to be upregulated in human prostate cancer. However, in this report we provide evidence that TbNB, initially identified in human neuroblastoma, is the only Tb isoform upregulated in human prostate cancer and that the Tb15 sequence is not present herein. In addition, we demonstrate that human TbNB has a higher affinity for actin in comparison to Tb4 and promotes cell migration. In combination, this experimentally validates TbNB as functional homologue of rat Tb15 in the human organism and clarifies the current composition of the human Tb family. (c) 2007 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of recombinant wild type and site-directed mutations of apolipoprotein C-III: lipid binding, displacement of ApoE, and inhibition of lipoprotein lipase.
Liu, H.; Talmud, P. J.; Lins, Laurence ULg et al

in Biochemistry (2000), 39(31), 9201-12

The physicochemical properties of recombinant wild type and three site-directed mutants of apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), designed by molecular modeling to alter specific amino acid residues implicated ... [more ▼]

The physicochemical properties of recombinant wild type and three site-directed mutants of apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), designed by molecular modeling to alter specific amino acid residues implicated in lipid binding (L9T/T20L, F64A/W65A) or LPL inhibition (K21A), were compared. Relative lipid binding efficiencies to dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) were L9T/T20L > WT >K21A > F64A/W65A with an inverse correlation with size of the discoidal complexes formed. Physicochemical analysis (Trp fluorescence, circular dichroism, and GdnHCl denaturation) suggests that L9T/T20L forms tighter and more stable lipid complexes with phospholipids, while F64A/W65A associates less tightly. Lipid displacement properties were tested by gel-filtrating apoE:dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) discoidal complexes mixed with the various apoC-III variants. All apoC-III proteins bound to the apoE:DPPC complexes; the amount of apoE displaced from the complex was dependent on the apoC-III lipid binding affinity. All apoC-III proteins inhibited LPL in the presence or absence of apoC-II, with F64A/W65A displaying the most inhibition, suggesting that apoC-III inhibition of LPL is independent of lipid binding and therefore of apoC-II displacement. Taken together. these data suggest that the hydrophobic residues F64 and W65 are crucial for the lipid binding properties of apoC-III and that redistribution of the N-terminal helix of apoC-III (L9T/T20L) enhances the stability of the lipid-bound protein, while LPL inhibition by apoC-III is likely to be due to protein:protein interactions. [less ▲]

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See detailbeta-amyloid peptide interacts specifically with the carboxy-terminal domain of human apolipoprotein E: Relevance to Alzheimer's disease
Pillot, T.; Goethals, M.; Najib, J. et al

in Journal of Neurochemistry (1999), 72(1), 230-7

Growing evidence indicates the involvement of apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the development of late-onset and sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease, although its exact role remains unclear. We previously ... [more ▼]

Growing evidence indicates the involvement of apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the development of late-onset and sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease, although its exact role remains unclear. We previously demonstrated that beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta) displays membrane-destabilizing properties and that only apoE2 and E3 isoforms inhibit these properties. In this study, we clearly demonstrate that the carboxy-terminal lipid-binding domain of apoE (e.g., residues 200-299) is responsible for the Abeta-binding activity of apoE and that this interaction involves pairs of apoE amphipathic alpha-helices. We further demonstrate that Abeta is able to inhibit the association of the C-terminal domain of apoE with lipids due to the formation of Abeta/apoE complexes resistant to sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. On the contrary, the amino-terminal receptor-binding domain of apoE (e.g., residues 129-169) is not able to form stable complexes with Abeta. These data extend our understanding of human apoE-dependent binding of Abeta by involving the C-terminal domain of apoE in the efficient formation of apoE/Abeta complex. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular Determinants Of The Interaction Between The C-Terminal Domain Of Alzheimer'S Beta-Amyloid Peptide And Apolipoprotein E Alpha-Helices
Lins, Laurence ULg; Thomas, Annick ULg; Pillot, T. et al

in Journal of Neurochemistry (1999), 73(2), 758-69

In a previous work, we predicted and demonstrated that the 29-42-residue fragment of beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta peptide) has in vitro capacities close to those of the tilted fragment of viral fusion ... [more ▼]

In a previous work, we predicted and demonstrated that the 29-42-residue fragment of beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta peptide) has in vitro capacities close to those of the tilted fragment of viral fusion proteins. We further demonstrated that apolipoprotein E2 and E3 but not apolipoprotein E4 can decrease the fusogenic activity of Abeta(29-42) via a direct interaction. Therefore, we suggested that this fragment is implicated in the neurotoxicity of Abeta and in the protective effects of apolipoprotein E in Alzheimer's disease. Because structurally related apolipoproteins do not interact with the Abeta C-terminal domain but inhibit viral fusion, we suggested that interactions existing between fusogenic peptides and apolipoproteins are selective and responsible for the inhibition of fusion. In this study, we simulated interactions of all amphipathic helices of apolipoproteins E and A-I with Abeta and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) fusogenic fragments by molecular modeling. We further calculated cross-interactions that do not inhibit fusion in vitro. The results suggest that interactions of hydrophobic residues are the major event to inhibit the fusogenic capacities of Abeta(29-42) and SIV peptides. Selectivity of those interactions is due to the steric complementarity between bulky hydrophobic residues in the fusogenic fragments and hydrophobic residues in the apolipoprotein C-terminal amphipathic helices. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution Of The Hydrophobicity Gradient To The Secondary Structure And Activity Of Fusogenic Peptides
Decout, A.; Labeur, C.; Vanloo, B. et al

in Molecular Membrane Biology (1999), 16(3), 237-46

Fusogenic peptides belong to a class of helical amphipathic peptides characterized by a hydrophobicity gradient along the long helical axis. According to the prevailing theory regarding the mechanism of ... [more ▼]

Fusogenic peptides belong to a class of helical amphipathic peptides characterized by a hydrophobicity gradient along the long helical axis. According to the prevailing theory regarding the mechanism of action of fusogenic peptides, this hydrophobicity gradient causes the tilted insertion of the peptides in membranes, thus destabilizing the lipid core and, thereby, enhancing membrane fusion. To assess the role of the hydrophobicity gradient upon the fusogenic activity, two of these fusogenic peptides and several variants were synthesized. The LCAT-(57-70) peptide, which is part of the sequence of the lipolytic enzyme lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase, forms stable beta-sheets in lipids, while the apolipoprotein A-II (53-70) peptide remains predominantly helical in membranes. The variant peptides were designed through amino acid permutations, to be either parallel, perpendicular, or to retain an oblique orientation relative to the lipid-water interface. Peptide-induced vesicle fusion was monitored by lipid-mixing experiments, using fluorescent probes, the extent of peptide-lipid association, the conformation of lipid-associated peptides and their orientation in lipids, were studied by Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy. A comparison of the properties of the wild-type and variant peptides shows that the hydrophobicity gradient, which determines the orientation of helical peptides in lipids and their fusogenic activity, further influences the secondary structure and lipid binding capacity of these peptides. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization Of Functional Residues In The Interfacial Recognition Domain Of Lecithin Cholesterol Acyltransferase (Lcat)
Peelman, F.; Vanloo, B.; Perez-Mendez, O. et al

in Protein Engineering (1999), 12(1), 71-8

Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is an interfacial enzyme active on both high-density (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Threading alignments of LCAT with lipases suggest that residues ... [more ▼]

Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is an interfacial enzyme active on both high-density (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Threading alignments of LCAT with lipases suggest that residues 50-74 form an interfacial recognition site and this hypothesis was tested by site-directed mutagenesis. The (delta56-68) deletion mutant had no activity on any substrate. Substitution of W61 with F, Y, L or G suggested that an aromatic residue is required for full enzymatic activity. The activity of the W61F and W61Y mutants was retained on HDL but decreased on LDL, possibly owing to impaired accessibility to the LDL lipid substrate. The decreased activity of the single R52A and K53A mutants on HDL and LDL and the severer effect of the double mutation suggested that these conserved residues contribute to the folding of the LCAT lid. The membrane-destabilizing properties of the LCAT 56-68 helical segment were demonstrated using the corresponding synthetic peptide. An M65N-N66M substitution decreased both the fusogenic properties of the peptide and the activity of the mutant enzyme on all substrates. These results suggest that the putative interfacial recognition domain of LCAT plays an important role in regulating the interaction of the enzyme with its organized lipoprotein substrates. [less ▲]

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See detailThe C-terminal helix of human apolipoprotein AII promotes the fusion of unilamellar liposomes and displaces apolipoprotein AI from high-density lipoproteins.
Lambert, Géraldine ULg; Decout, A.; Vanloo, B. et al

in European Journal of Biochemistry (1998), 253(1), 328-38

To assess the functional properties of apolipoprotein (apo) AII and to investigate the mechanism leading to the displacement of apo AI from native and reconstituted high-density lipoproteins (HDL and r ... [more ▼]

To assess the functional properties of apolipoprotein (apo) AII and to investigate the mechanism leading to the displacement of apo AI from native and reconstituted high-density lipoproteins (HDL and r-HDL) by apo AII, wild-type and variant apo AII peptides were synthesized. The wild-type peptides, residues 53-70 and 58-70, correspond to the C-terminal helix of apo AII and are predicted to insert at a tilted angle into a lipid bilayer. We demonstrate that both the apo AII-(53-70) peptide, and to a lesser extent the apo AII-(58-70) peptide are able to induce fusion of unilamellar lipid vesicles together with membrane leakage, and to displace apo AI from HDL and r-HDL. Two variants of the apo AII-(53-70)-wild-type (WT) peptide, designed either to be parallel to the water/lipid interface [apo AII-(53-70)-0 degrees] or to retain an oblique orientation [apo AII-(53-70)-30 degrees], were synthesized in order to test the influence of the obliquity on their fusogenic properties and ability to displace apo AI from HDL. The parallel variant did not bind lipids, due to its self-association properties. However, the apo AII-(53-70)-30 degrees variant was fusogenic and promoted the displacement of apo AI from HDL. Moreover, the extent of fusion of the apo AII-(53-70)-WT, apo AII-(58-70)-WT and apo AII-(53-70)-30 degrees peptides was related to the alpha-helical content of the lipid-bound peptides measured by infrared spectroscopy. Infrared measurements using polarized light also confirmed the oblique orientation of the helical component of the three peptides. In native and r-HDL, the tilted insertion of the C-terminal helix of apo AII resulting in a partial destabilization of the HDL external lipid layer might contribute to the displacement of apo AI by apo AII. [less ▲]

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See detailEnhanced Efficiency Of A Targeted Fusogenic Peptide
Decout, A.; Labeur, C.; Goethals, M. et al

in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes (1998), 1372(1), 102-16

Membrane targeting was investigated as a potential strategy to increase the fusogenic activity of an isolated fusion peptide. This was achieved by coupling the fusogenic carboxy-terminal part of the beta ... [more ▼]

Membrane targeting was investigated as a potential strategy to increase the fusogenic activity of an isolated fusion peptide. This was achieved by coupling the fusogenic carboxy-terminal part of the beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta, amino acids 29-40), involved in Alzheimer's disease, to a positively charged peptide (PIP2-binding peptide, PBP) interacting specifically with a naturally occurring negatively charged phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol 4, 5-bisphosphate (PIP2). Peptide-induced vesicle fusion was spectroscopically evidenced by: (i) mixing of membrane lipids, (ii) mixing of aqueous vesicular contents, and (iii) an irreversible increase in vesicle size, at concentrations five to six times lower than the Abeta(29-40) peptide. In contrast, at these concentrations the PBP-Abeta(29-40) peptide did not display any significant activity on neutral vesicles, indicating that negatively charged phospholipids included as targets in the membranes, are required to compensate for the lower hydrophobicity of this peptide. When the alpha-helical structure of the chimeric peptide was induced by dissolving it in trifluoroethanol, an increase of the fusogenic potential of the peptide was observed, supporting the hypothesis that the alpha-helical conformation of the peptide is crucial to trigger the lipid-peptide interaction. The specificity of the interaction between PIP2 and the PBP moiety, was shown by the less efficient targeting of the chimeric peptide to membranes charged with phosphatidylserine. These data thus demonstrate that the specific properties of both the Abeta(29-40) and the PBP peptide are conserved in the chimeric peptide, and that a synergetic effect is reached through chemical linkage of these two fragments. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution Of The Hydrophobicity Gradient Of An Amphipathic Peptide To Its Mode Of Association With Lipids
Perez-Mendez, O.; Vanloo, B.; Decout, A. et al

in European Journal of Biochemistry (1998), 256(3), 570-9

A class of peptides that associate with lipids, known as oblique-orientated peptides, was recently described [Brasseur R., Pillot, T., Lins, L., Vandekerckhove, J. & Rosseneu, M. (1997) Trends Biochem ... [more ▼]

A class of peptides that associate with lipids, known as oblique-orientated peptides, was recently described [Brasseur R., Pillot, T., Lins, L., Vandekerckhove, J. & Rosseneu, M. (1997) Trends Biochem. Sci. 22, 167-171]. Due to an asymmetric distribution of hydrophobic residues along the axis of the alpha-helix, such peptides adopt an oblique orientation which can destabilise membranes or lipid cores. Variants of these oblique peptides, designed to have an homogeneous distribution of hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues along the helical axis, are classified as regular amphipathic peptides. These peptides are expected to lie parallel to the polar/apolar interface with their hydrophobic residues directed towards the apolar and their hydrophilic residues towards the polar phase. An hydrophobic, oblique-orientated peptide was identified at residues 56-68 in the sequence of the lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), enzyme. This peptide is predicted to penetrate a lipid bilayer at an angle of 40 degrees through its more hydrophobic C-terminal end and thereby induce the destabilisation of a membrane or a lipid core. The LCAT-(56-68) wild-type peptide was synthesised together with the LCAT-(56-68, 0 degrees) variant, in which the hydrophobicity gradient was abolished through residue permutations. In two other variants, designed to keep their oblique orientation, the W61 residue was shifted either towards the more hydrophilic N-terminal at residue 57, or to position 68 at the hydrophobic C-terminal end of the peptide. Peptide-induced vesicle fusion was demonstrated by fluorescence measurements using pyrene-labeled vesicles and by monitoring of vesicle size by gel filtration. The interaction between peptides and lipids was monitored by measurement of the intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence emission of the peptides. Fluorescence polarisation measurements, using diphenyl hexatriene, were carried out to follow changes in the lipid fluidity. The LCAT-(56-68) wild-type peptide and the two oblique variants, induced fusion of unilamellar dimyristoylglycerophosphocholine vesicles. Tryptophan fluorescence emission measurements showed a 12-14 nm blue shift upon addition of the wild-type peptide and of the W61-->68 variant to lipids, whereas the fluorescence of the W61-->57 variant did not change significantly. This observation supports the insertion of the more hydrophobic C-terminal residues into the lipid phase, as predicted by the theoretical calculations. In contrast, the 0 degrees variant peptide had no fusogenic activity, and it associated with lipids to form small discoidal lipid/peptide complexes. The phospholipid transition temperature was decreased after addition of the wild-type, the W61-->68 and W61-->57 fusogenic peptides, whereas the opposite effect was observed with the 0 degrees variant. The behaviour of the wild-type and variant LCAT-(56-68) peptides stresses the contribution of the hydrophobicity gradient along the axis of an amphipathic peptide to the mode of association of this peptide with lipids. This parameter consequently influences the structural modifications occurring to lipids upon association with amphipathic peptides. [less ▲]

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See detailPeptides in membranes: tipping the balance of membrane stability.
Brasseur, Robert ULg; Pillot, T.; Lins, Laurence ULg et al

in Trends in biochemical sciences (1997), 22(5), 167-71

This review describes a class of peptides that associate with lipids in membranes and are commonly known as 'oblique-orientated peptides'. Owing to an asymmetric distribution of hydrophobic residues along ... [more ▼]

This review describes a class of peptides that associate with lipids in membranes and are commonly known as 'oblique-orientated peptides'. Owing to an asymmetric distribution of hydrophobic residues along the axis of the alpha-helix, such peptides can destabilize membranes or lipid cores, thereby facilitating such cellular processes as vesicular fusion or protein transport across subcellular compartments, as well as remodelling of lipid cores. [less ▲]

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See detailSpecific Modulation Of The Fusogenic Properties Of The Alzheimer Beta-Amyloid Peptide By Apolipoprotein E Isoforms
Pillot, T.; Goethals, M.; Vanloo, B. et al

in European Journal of Biochemistry (1997), 243(3), 650-9

C-terminal fragments of the Alzheimer amyloid peptide (amino acids 29-40 and 29-42) have physico-chemical properties related to those of the fusion peptides of viral proteins and they are able to induce ... [more ▼]

C-terminal fragments of the Alzheimer amyloid peptide (amino acids 29-40 and 29-42) have physico-chemical properties related to those of the fusion peptides of viral proteins and they are able to induce the fusion of liposomes in vitro. We proposed that these properties could mediate a direct interaction of the amyloid peptide with cell membranes and account for part of the cytotoxicity of the amyloid peptide. In view of the epidemiologic and biochemical linkages between the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and apolipoprotein E (apoE) polymorphism, we examined the potential interaction between the three common apoE isoforms and the C-terminal fragments of the amyloid peptide. We show that, at low concentration, only apoE2 and apoE3 are potent inhibitors of the amyloid peptide fusogenic and aggregational properties, whereas the apoE4 isoform has no effect. We further show that the protective effect of apoE is mediated by the formation of stable apoE/amyloid peptide complexes, as determined by tryptophan emission fluorescence measurements and by gel electrophoresis. The interaction specificity between apoE2 and apoE3 and the amyloid fragments is demonstrated here, since other apolipoproteins (e.g. apolipoprotein A-I and A-II), with similar amphipathic structures, do not interact with the amyloid C-terminal fragments. Finally, we show that, reciprocally, the amyloid peptide can interact directly with the apoE2 and apoE3 isoforms to decrease or perturb their normal association with lipids. These data suggest that the 29-40 and 29-42 domains of the amyloid peptide could be critical for the amyloid-apoE interaction, and that apoE2 and apoE3 isoforms, but not apoE4, could play a protective role against the formation of amyloid aggregates and/or against their interaction with cellular membranes. [less ▲]

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See detailThe 118-135 Peptide Lot The Human Prion Protein Forms Amyloid Fibrils And Induces Liposome Fusion
Pillot, T.; Lins, Laurence ULg; Goethals, M. et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (1997), 274(3), 381-93

The prion protein (PrPC) is a glycoprotein of unknown function normally found at the surface of neurons and of glial cells. It is involved in diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and ... [more ▼]

The prion protein (PrPC) is a glycoprotein of unknown function normally found at the surface of neurons and of glial cells. It is involved in diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the human, where PrPC is converted into an altered form (termed PrPSc). PrPSc is highly resistant towards proteolytic degradation and accumulates in the central nervous system of affected individuals. By analogy with the pathological events occuring during the development of Alzheimer's disease, controverses still exist regarding the relationship between amyloidogenesis, prion aggregation and neuronal loss. To unravel the mechanism of PrP neurotoxicity and understand the interaction of PrP with cellular membranes, a series of natural and variant peptides spanning residues 118 to 135 of PrP was synthesized. The potential of these peptides to induce fusion of unilamellar lipid vesicles was investigated. According to computer modeling calculations, the 120 to 133 domain of PrP is predicted to be a tilted lipid-associating peptide, and to insert in a oblique way into a lipid bilayer through its N-terminal end. In addition to amyloidogenic properties exhibited in vitro by these peptides, peptide-induced vesicle fusion was demonstrated by several techniques, including lipid- and core-mixing assays. Elongation of the 120 to 133 peptide towards the N- and C-terminal ends of the PrP sequence showed that the 118 to 135 PrP peptide has maximal fusogenic properties, while the variant peptides had no effect. Due to their high hydrophobicity, all peptides tested were able to interact with liposomes to induce leakage of encapsulated calcein. We demonstrate also that the propensity of the peptides to fold as an alpha-helix increases their fusogenic activity, thus accounting for the maximal fusogenic activity of the most stable helix at residues 118 to 135. These data suggest that, by analogy with the C-terminal domain of the beta-amyloid peptide, the fusogenic properties exhibited by the prion peptides might contribute to the neurotoxicity of these peptides by destabilizing cellular membranes. [less ▲]

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See detailStructural And Functional Properties Of The 154-171 Wild-Type And Variant Peptides Of Human Lecithin-Cholesterol Acyltransferase
Peelman, F.; Goethals, M.; Vanloo, B. et al

in European Journal of Biochemistry (1997), 249(3), 708-15

The 154-171 segment of the human lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) enzyme was identified as the most stable amphipathic helix in the LCAT sequence. Its mean hydrophobicity, hydrophobic moment ... [more ▼]

The 154-171 segment of the human lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) enzyme was identified as the most stable amphipathic helix in the LCAT sequence. Its mean hydrophobicity, hydrophobic moment and its orientation at a lipid/water interface are similar to those of some of the helical repeats of apolipoprotein A-IV and E. This domain was therefore proposed as a candidate peptide accounting for the association between LCAT and its lipid substrate. To investigate this hypothesis we synthesized the LCAT-(154-171)-peptide, two variants containing the natural Y156N and R158C mutations and a variant with increased hydrophobicity through Y156I, L160I, L163I and Y171W substitutions. The structural and lipid-binding properties of these synthetic peptides were investigated by turbidity, fluorescence, electron microscopy and circular dichroism. The wild-type peptide, the R158C variant in its dimeric form, as well as the more hydrophobic peptide, associated with phospholipids, whereas the Y156N and the R158C variant in its monomeric form did not. However, only the complexes generated with the hydrophobic variant were stable enough to resist dissociation during gel filtration. The wild-type peptide and hydrophobic variant formed discoidal complexes with dimyristoylglycerophosphocholine (Myr2GroPCho) as shown by negative staining electron microscopy. Comparison of the properties of the wild-type and hydrophobic variant LCAT-(154-171)-peptide stresses the contribution of the hydrophobic face of the amphipathic helix to the formation and stabilization of the peptide/lipid complexes. This is further confirmed by the decreased affinity of the Y156N variant peptide for lipids, as this mutation decreased the mean hydrophobicity of the hydrophobic face of the amphipathic helix. These results support the hypothesis that the 154-171 segment of LCAT might be involved in the interaction of the enzyme with its lipid substrate and suggest that the decreased activity of the Y156N natural LCAT mutant might result from a decreased affinity of this mutant for lipids. [less ▲]

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See detailFusogenic Properties Of The C-Terminal Domain Of The Alzheimer Beta-Amyloid Peptide
Pillot, T.; Goethals, M.; Vanloo, B. et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (1996), 271(46), 28757-65

A series of natural peptides and mutants, derived from the Alzheimer beta-amyloid peptide, was synthesized, and the potential of these peptides to induce fusion of unilamellar lipid vesicles was ... [more ▼]

A series of natural peptides and mutants, derived from the Alzheimer beta-amyloid peptide, was synthesized, and the potential of these peptides to induce fusion of unilamellar lipid vesicles was investigated. These peptide domains were identified by computer modeling and correspond to respectively the C-terminal (e.g. residues 29-40 and 29-42) and a central domain (13-28) of the beta-amyloid peptide. The C-terminal peptides are predicted to insert in an oblique way into a lipid membrane through their N-terminal end, while the mutants are either parallel or perpendicular to the lipid bilayer. Peptide-induced vesicle fusion was demonstrated by several techniques, including lipid-mixing and core-mixing assays using pyrene-labeled vesicles. The effect of peptide elongation toward the N-terminal end of the entire beta-amyloid peptide was also investigated. Peptides corresponding to residues 22-42 and 12-42 were tested using the same techniques. Both the 29-40 and 29-42 beta-amyloid peptides were able to induce fusion of unilamellar lipid vesicles and calcein leakage, and the amyloid 29-42 peptide was the most potent fusogenic peptide. Neither the two mutants or the 13-28 beta-amyloid peptide had any fusogenic activity. Circular dichroism measurements showed an increase of the alpha-helical content of the two C-terminal peptides at increasing concentrations of trifluoroethanol, which was accompanied by an increase of the fusogenic potential of the peptides. Our data suggest that the alpha-helical content and the angle of insertion of the peptide into a lipid bilayer are critical for the fusogenic activity of the C-terminal domain of the amyloid peptide. The differences observed between the fusogenic capacity of the amyloid 29-40 and 29-42 peptides might result from differences in the degree of penetration of the peptides into the membrane and the resulting membrane destabilization. The longer peptides, residues 22-42 and 12-42, had decreased, but significant, fusogenic properties associated with perturbation of the membrane permeability. These data suggest that the fusogenic properties of the C-terminal domain of the beta-amyloid peptide might contribute to the cytotoxicity of the peptide by destabilizing the cell membrane. [less ▲]

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