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Default Distinguishing Bicontinuous Lipid Cubic Phases from Isotropic Membrane Morphologies Using (31)P Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

Distinguishing Bicontinuous Lipid Cubic Phases from Isotropic Membrane Morphologies Using (31)P Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

Distinguishing Bicontinuous Lipid Cubic Phases from Isotropic Membrane Morphologies Using (31)P Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

J Phys Chem B. 2015 Mar 27;

Authors: Yang Y, Yao H, Hong M

Abstract
Nonlamellar lipid membranes are frequently induced by proteins that fuse, bend, and cut membranes. Understanding the mechanism of action of these proteins requires the elucidation of the membrane morphologies that they induce. While hexagonal phases and lamellar phases are readily identified by their characteristic solid-state NMR lineshapes, bicontinuous lipid cubic phases are more difficult to discern, since the static NMR spectra of cubic-phase lipids consist of an isotropic 31P or 2H peak, indistinguishable from the spectra of isotropic membrane morphologies such as micelles and small vesicles. To date, small-angle X-ray scattering is the only method to identify bicontinuous lipid cubic phases. To explore unique NMR signatures of lipid cubic phases, we first describe the orientation distribution of lipid molecules in cubic phases and simulate the static 31P chemical shift lineshapes of oriented cubic-phase membranes in the limit of slow lateral diffusion. We then show that 31P T2 relaxation times differ significantly between isotropic micelles and cubic-phase membranes: the latter exhibit two-orders-of magnitude shorter T2 relaxation times. These differences are explained by the different timescales of lipid lateral diffusion on the cubic-phase surface versus the timescales of micelle tumbling. Using this relaxation NMR approach, we investigated a DOPE membrane containing the transmembrane domain (TMD) of a viral fusion protein. The static 31P spectrum of DOPE shows an isotropic peak, whose T2 relaxation times correspond to that of a cubic phase. Thus, the viral fusion protein TMD induces negative Gaussian curvature, which is an intrinsic characteristic of cubic phases, to the DOPE membrane. This curvature induction has important implications to the mechanism of virus-cell fusion. This study establishes a simple NMR diagnostic probe of lipid cubic phases, which is expected to be useful for studying many protein-induced membrane remodeling phenomena in biology.


PMID: 25815701 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



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