Double belt structure of discoidal high density lipoproteins: Molecular basis for size heterogeneity

Ling Li, Jianguo Chen, Vinod K. Mishra, Jennifer A. Kurtz, Dongfeng Cao, Anthony E. Klon, Stephen C. Harvey, G. M. Anantharamaiah, Jere P. Segrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


We recently proposed an all-atom model for apolipoprotein (apo) A-I in discoidal high-density lipoprotein in which two monomers form stacked antiparallel helical rings rotationally aligned by interhelical salt-bridges. The model can be derived a priori from the geometry of a planar bilayer disc that constrains the hydrophobic face of a continuous amphipathic α helix in lipid-associated apoA-I to a plane inside of an α-helical torus. This constrains each apoA-I monomer to a novel conformation, that of a slightly unwound, curved, planar amphipathic α11/3 helix (three turns per 11 residues). Using non-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, we show that dimyristoylphosphocholine discs containing two apoA-I form five distinct particles with maximal Stokes diameters of 98 Å (R2-1), 106 Å (R2-2), 110 Å (R2-3), 114 Å (R2-4) and 120 Å (R2-5). Further, we show that the Stokes diameters of R2-1 and R2-2 are independent of the N-terminal 43 residues (the flexible domain) of apoA-I, while the flexible domain is necessary and sufficient for the formation of the three larger complexes. On the basis of these results, the conformation of apoA-I on the R2-2 disc can be modeled accurately as an amphipathic helical double belt extending the full length of the lipid-associating domain with N and C-terminal ends in direct contact. The smallest of the discs, R2-1, models as the R2-2 conformation with an antiparallel 15-18 residue pairwise segment of helixes hinged off the disc edge. The conformations of full-length apoA-I on the flexible domain-dependent discs (R2-3, R2-4 and R2-5) model as the R2-2 conformation extended on the disc edge by one, two or three of the 11-residue tandem amphipathic helical repeats (termed G1, G2 and G3), respectively, contained within the flexible domain. Although we consider these results to favor the double belt model, the topographically very similar hairpin-belt model cannot be ruled out entirely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1311
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 5 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr David W. Garber for technical assistance in iodination of peptides. We thank Drs Michael J. Jablonsky, Donald D. Muccio, and Manjula Chaddha for their assistance in CD spectroscopy. This work was supported, in part, by the National Institutes of Health grant P01 HL-34343 (to J.P.S.).


  • apolipoprotein A-I
  • discoidal high-density lipoprotein
  • double belt model
  • hairpin-belt model
  • size heterogeneity


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