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Solid-State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Investigation of the Structural Topology and Lipid Interactions of a Viral Fusion Protein Chimera Containing the Fusion Peptide and Transmembrane Domain

Yao, Hongwei, Lee, Myungwoon, Liao, Shu-Yu, Hong, Mei
Biochemistry 2016 v.55 no.49 pp. 6787-6800
Parainfluenza virus 5, hydrophobicity, membrane fusion, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, peptides, phospholipids, recombinant fusion proteins, topology, viral fusion proteins
The fusion peptide (FP) and transmembrane domain (TMD) of viral fusion proteins play important roles during virus–cell membrane fusion, by inducing membrane curvature and transient dehydration. The structure of the water-soluble ectodomain of viral fusion proteins has been extensively studied crystallographically, but the structures of the FP and TMD bound to phospholipid membranes are not well understood. We recently investigated the conformations and lipid interactions of the separate FP and TMD peptides of parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) fusion protein F using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance. These studies provide structural information about the two domains when they are spatially well separated in the fusion process. To investigate how these two domains are structured relative to each other in the postfusion state, when the ectodomain forms a six-helix bundle that is thought to force the FP and TMD together in the membrane, we have now expressed and purified a chimera of the FP and TMD, connected by a Gly-Lys linker, and measured the chemical shifts and interdomain contacts of the protein in several lipid membranes. The FP–TMD chimera exhibits α-helical chemical shifts in all the membranes examined and does not cause strong curvature of lamellar membranes or membranes with negative spontaneous curvature. These properties differ qualitatively from those of the separate peptides, indicating that the FP and TMD interact with each other in the lipid membrane. However, no ¹³C–¹³C cross peaks are observed in two-dimensional correlation spectra, suggesting that the two helices are not tightly associated. These results suggest that the ectodomain six-helix bundle does not propagate into the membrane to the two hydrophobic termini. However, the loosely associated FP and TMD helices are found to generate significant negative Gaussian curvature to membranes that possess spontaneous positive curvature, consistent with the notion that the FP–TMD assembly may facilitate the transition of the membrane from hemifusion intermediates to the fusion pore.