Conformational and Associative Behaviours of the Third Helix of Antennapedia Homeodomain in Membrane-Mimetic Environments


G. Chassaing, Laboratoire de Chimie Organique Biologique, URA CNRS 493, Université P. et M. Curie, Boîte 182, 4, place Jussieu, F-75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Fax:+33 1 44 27 71 50.


The third helix of antennapedia homeodomain pAntp-(43–58) can translocate through cell membrane and has been used as an intracellular vehicle for delivering peptides and oligonucleotides. The conformational and associative behaviour of two peptidic vectors pAntp-(43–58) and [Pro50]pAntp-(43–58) has been analyzed by different biophysical methods. pAntp-(43–58) adopts an amphipathic helical structure in 30% (by vol.) hexafluoroisopropanol, in perfluoro-tert-butanol and in the presence of SDS micelles. CD spectra indicate that the conformation of [Pro50]pAntp-(43–58) in contrast to pAntp-(43–58) is independent of the media used. 1H-NMR spectroscopy in SDS micelles or in perfluoro-tert-butanol allows detection of aggregated peptides probably in a ribbon 27 type conformation. These conformations became the predominant structure when Gln50 was replaced by Pro50. Interproton-distance restraints derived from NOE measurements have been classified in two groups corresponding to two types of structures: α-helix and essentially extended structures. Consecutive CHα(i)/CHα(i+1) NOES are only compatible with aggregates. Simulated annealing calculation of dimeric structure agrees with φ and ψ angles in the β-sheet and γ-turn regions. Fluorescence spectroscopy analysis has shown that the indole groups of both peptides penetrate into SDS micelles; both peptides also induce the formation of micelles at very low concentration of SDS (20 μM). Similar interaction was observed with reverse-phase micelles made of bis(2-ethyhexyl) sodium sulfosuccinate and small unilamellar vesicles (SUV) made of a mixture of phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylserine. 31P-NMR of vesicles (SUV and large unilamellar vesicles) indicated that the addition of pAntp analogues did not affect the size of phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylserine vesicles. The addition of pAntp analogues to lipidic dispersions modulates lipid polymorphism in different ways depending on the mixtures of acidic lipids.