Human glycolipid transfer protein: Probing conformation using fluorescence spectroscopy

Xin Min Li, Margarita L Malakhova, Xin Lin, Helen M. Pike, Taeowan Chung, Julian G. Molotkovsky, Rhoderick E Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Glycolipid transfer protein (GLTP) is a soluble 24 kDa protein that selectively accelerates the intermembrane transfer of glycolipids in vitro. Little is known about the GLTP structure and dynamics. Here, we report the cloning of human GLTP and characterize the environment of the three tryptophans (Trps) of the protein using fluorescence spectroscopy. Excitation at 295 nm yielded an emission maximum (λmax) near 347 nm, indicating a relatively polar average environment for emitting Trps. Quenching with acrylamide at physiological ionic strength or with potassium iodide resulted in linear Stern-Volmer plots, suggesting accessibility of emitting Trps to soluble quenchers. Insights into reversible conformational changes accompanying changes in GLTP activity were provided by addition and rapid dilution of urea while monitoring changes in Trp or 1-anilinonaphthalene-8-sulfonic acid fluorescence. Incubation of GLTP with glycolipid liposomes caused a blue shift in the Trp emission maximum but diminished the fluorescence intensity. The blue-shifted emission maximum, centered near 335 nm, persisted after separation of glycolipid liposomes from GLTP, consistent with formation of a GLTP-glycolipid complex at a glycolipid-liganding site containing Trp. The results provide the first insights into human GLTP structural dynamics by fluorescence spectroscopy, including global conformational changes that accompany GLTP folding into an active conformational state as well as more subtle conformational changes that play a role in GLTP-mediated transfer of glycolipids between membranes, and establish a foundation for future studies of membrane rafts using GLTP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10285-10294
Number of pages10
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 10 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Human glycolipid transfer protein: Probing conformation using fluorescence spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this