Membrane protein frustration: protein incorporation into hydrophobic mismatched binary lipid mixtures

D. Stopar, R.B. Spruijt, M.A. Hemminga

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Bacteriophage M13 major coat protein was reconstituted in different nonmatching binary lipid mixtures composed of 14:1PC and 22:1PC lipid bilayers. Challenged by this lose-lose situation of hydrophobic mismatch, the protein-lipid interactions are monitored by CD and site-directed spin-label electron spin resonance spectroscopy of spin-labeled site-specific single cysteine mutants located in the C-terminal protein domain embedded in the hydrophobic core of the membrane (I39C) and at the lipid-water interface (T46C). The CD spectra indicate an overall ¿-helical conformation irrespective of the composition of the binary lipid mixture. Spin-labeled protein mutant I39C senses the phase transition in 22:1PC, in contrast to spin-labeled protein mutant T46C, which is not affected by the transition. The results of both CD and electron spin resonance spectroscopy clearly indicate that the protein preferentially partitions into the shorter 14:1PC both above and below the gel-to-liquid crystalline phase transition temperature of 22:1PC. This preference is related to the protein tilt angle and energy penalty the protein has to pay in the thicker 22:1PC. Given the fact that in Escherichia coli, which is the host for M13 bacteriophage, it is easier to find shorter 14 carbon acyl chains than longer 22 carbon acyl chains, the choice the M13 coat protein makes seems to be evolutionary justified
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1408-1414
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • major coat protein
  • bacteriophage m13
  • phase-transitions
  • acyl-chain
  • bilayers
  • fluid
  • phosphatidylcholines
  • spectroscopy
  • domain
  • solubilization


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