Structure of the antimicrobial β-hairpin peptide protegrin-1 in a DLPC lipid bilayer investigated by molecular dynamics simulation

Himanshu Khandelia, Yiannis Kaznessis

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48 Scopus citations


All atom molecular dynamics simulations of the 18-residue β-hairpin antimicrobial peptide protegrin-1 (PG-1, RGGRLCYCRRRFCVCVGR-NH2) in a fully hydrated dilauroylphosphatidylcholine (DLPC) lipid bilayer have been implemented. The goal of the reported work is to investigate the structure of the peptide in a membrane environment (previously solved only in solution [R.L. Fahrner, T. Dieckmann, S.S.L. Harwig, R.I. Lehrer, D. Eisenberg, J. Feigon, Solution structure of protegrin-1, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide from porcine leukocytes. Chemistry and Biology, 3 (1996) 543-550]), and to delineate specific peptide-membrane interactions which are responsible for the peptide's membrane binding properties. A novel, previously unknown, "kick" shaped conformation of the peptide was detected, where a bend at the C-terminal β-strand of the peptide caused the peptide backbone at residues 16-18 to extend perpendicular to the β-hairpin plane. This bend was driven by a highly persistent hydrogen-bond between the polar peptide side-chain of TYR7 and the unshielded backbone carbonyl oxygen atom of GLY17. The H-bond formation relieves the unfavorable free energy of insertion of polar groups into the hydrophobic membrane core. PG-1 was anchored to the membrane by strong electrostatic binding of the protonated N-terminus of the peptide to the lipid head group phosphate anions. The orientation of the peptide in the membrane, and its influence on bilayer structural and dynamic properties are in excellent agreement with solid state NMR measurements [S. Yamaguchi, T. Hong, A. Waring, R.I. Lehrer, M. Hong, Solid-State NMR Investigations of Peptide-Lipid Interaction and Orientation of a b-Sheet Antimicrobial Peptide, Protegrin, Biochemistry, 41 (2002) 9852-9862]. Importantly, two simulations which started from different initial orientations of the peptide converged to the same final equilibrium orientation of the peptide relative to the bilayer. The kick-shaped conformation was observed only in one of the two simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Prof. Alan Waring and Prof. Mei Hong for useful discussions. This work was supported by grants from NSF (EEC-0234112) and NIH (GM 070989). Computational support from the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) is gratefully acknowledged. This work was also partially supported by National Computational Science Alliance under MCB030027P and utilized the marvel cluster at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and the tungsten cluster at the NCSA.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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