Structure and function of integral membrane protein domains resolved by peptide-amphiphiles: Application to phospholamban

Nathan A. Lockwood, Raymond S. Tu, Zhiwen Zhang, Matthew V. Tirrell, David D. Thomas, Christine B. Karim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We have used synthetic lipidated peptides ("peptide-amphiphiles") to study the structure and function of isolated domains of integral transmembrane proteins. We used 9-fluorenylmethyl-oxycarbonyl (Fmoc) solid-phase peptide synthesis to prepare full-length phospholamban (PLB1-52) and its cytoplasmic (PLB1-25K: phospholamban residues 1-25 plus a C-terminal lysine), and transmembrane (PLB26-52) domains, and a 38-residue model α-helical sequence as a control. We created peptide-amphiphiles by linking the C-terminus of either the isolated cytoplasmic domain or the model peptide to a membrane -anchoring, lipid-like hydrocarbon tail. Circular dichroism measurements showed that the model peptide-amphiphile, either in aqueous suspension or in lipid bilayers, had a higher degree of a-helical secondary structure than the unlipidated model peptide. We hypothesized that the peptide-amphiphile system would allow us to study the function and structure of the PLB1-25K cytoplasmic domain in a native-like configuration. We compared the function (inhibition of the Ca-ATPase in reconstituted membranes) and structure (via CD) of the PLB1-25 amphiphile to that of PLB and its isolated transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. Our results indicate that the cytoplasmic domain PLB1-25K has no effect on Ca-ATPase (calcium pump) activity, even when tethered to the membrane in a manner mimicking its native configuration, and that the transmembrane domain of PLB is sufficient for inhibition of the Ca-ATPase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Ca-ATPase
  • Co-reconstitution
  • Inhibitory effects
  • Membrane protein
  • Peptide modification
  • Peptide-amphiphile
  • Phospholamban
  • Secondary structure


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