Interaction between ion channel-inactivating peptides and anionic phospholipid vesicles as model targets

Biophys J. 1996 Sep;71(3):1313-23. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(96)79331-1.


Studies of rapid (N-type) inactivation induced by different synthetic inactivating peptides in several voltage-dependent cation channels have concluded that the channel inactivation "entrance" (or "receptor" site for the inactivating peptide) consists of a hydrophobic vestibule within the internal mouth of the channel, separated from the cytoplasm by a region with a negative surface potential. These protein domains are conformed from alternative sequences in the different channels and thus are relatively unrestricted in terms of primary structure. We are reporting here on the interaction between the inactivating peptide of the Shaker B K+ channel (ShB peptide) or the noninactivating ShB-L7E mutant with anionic phospholipid vesicles, a model target that, as the channel's inactivation "entrance," contains a hydrophobic domain (the vesicle bilayer) separated from the aqueous media by a negatively charged vesicle surface. When challenged by the anionic phospholipid vesicles, the inactivating ShB peptide 1) binds to the vesicle surface with a relatively high affinity, 2) readily adopts a strongly hydrogen-bonded beta-structure, likely an intramolecular beta "hairpin," and 3) becomes inserted into the hydrophobic bilayer by its folded N-terminal portion, leaving its positively charged C-terminal end exposed to the extravesicular aqueous medium. Similar experiments carried out with the noninactivating, L7E-ShB mutant peptide show that this peptide 1) binds also to the anionic vesicles, although with a lower affinity than does the ShB peptide, 2) adopts only occasionally the characteristic beta-structure, and 3) has completely lost the ability to traverse the anionic interphase at the vesicle surface and to insert into the hydrophobic vesicle bilayer. Because the negatively charged surface and the hydrophobic domains in the model target may partly imitate those conformed at the inactivation "entrance" of the channel proteins, we propose that channel inactivation likely includes molecular events similar to those observed in the interaction of the ShB peptide with the phospholipid vesicles, i.e., binding of the peptide to the region of negative surface potential, folding of the bound peptide as a beta-structure, and its insertion into the channel's hydrophobic vestibule. Likewise, we relate the lack of channel inactivation seen with the mutant ShB-L7E peptide to the lack of ability shown by this peptide to cross through the anionic interphase and insert into the hydrophobic domains of the model vesicle target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anions
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Models, Chemical
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Phospholipids / chemistry*
  • Point Mutation
  • Potassium Channel Blockers*
  • Potassium Channels*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Thermodynamics


  • Anions
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Peptides
  • Phospholipids
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels
  • Shaker B inactivating peptide