Specific anchoring modes of two distinct dystrophin rod sub-domains interacting in phospholipid Langmuir films studied by atomic force microscopy and PM-IRRAS

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Aug;1798(8):1503-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2010.04.005. Epub 2010 Apr 14.


Dystrophin rod repeats 1-3 sub-domain binds to acidic phosphatidylserine in a small vesicle binding assay, while the repeats 20-24 sub-domain does not. In the present work, we studied the adsorption behaviour of both sub-domains at the air/liquid interface and at the air/lipid interface in a Langmuir trough in order to highlight differences in interfacial properties. The adsorption behaviour of the two proteins at the air/liquid interface shows that they display surface activity while maintaining their alpha-helical secondary structure as shown by PM-IRRAS. Strikingly, R20-24 needs to be highly hydrated even at the interface, while this is not the case for R1-3, indicating that the surface activity is dramatically higher for R1-3 than R20-24. Surface-pressure measurements, atomic force microscopy and PM-IRRAS are used in a Langmuir experiment with DOPC-DOPS monolayers at two different surface pressures, 20 mN/m and 30 mN/m. At the lower surface pressure, the proteins are adsorbed at the lipid film interface while maintaining its alpha-helical structure. After an increase of the surface pressure, R1-3 subsequently produces a stable film, while R20-24 induces a reorganization of the lipid film with a subsequent decrease of the surface pressure close to the initial value. AFM and PM-IRRAS show that R1-3 is present in high amounts at the interface, being arranged in clusters representing 3.3% of the surface at low pressure. By contrast, R20-24 is present at the interface in small amounts bound only by a few electrostatic residues to the lipid film while the major part of the molecule remains floating in the sub-phase. Then for R1-3, the electrostatic interaction between the proteins and the film is enhanced by hydrophobic interactions. At higher surface pressure, the number of protein clusters increases and becomes closer in both cases implying the electrostatic character of the binding. These results indicate that even if the repeats exhibit large structural similarities, their interfacial properties are highly contrasted by their differential anchor mode in the membrane. Our work provides strong support for distinct physiological roles for the spectrin-like repeats and may partly explain the effects of therapeutic replacement of dystrophin deficiency by minidystrophins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Dystrophin / chemistry*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared


  • Dystrophin
  • Phospholipids
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins