Nitrogen-14 Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy of Aligned Phospholipid Bilayers to Probe Peptide−Lipid Interaction and Oligomerization of Membrane Associated Peptides
Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy,* Dong-Kuk Lee,† Jose S. Santos, and Katherine A. Henzler-Wildman‡
Characterization of the oligomerization of membrane-associated peptides is important to understand the folding and function of biomolecules like antimicrobial peptides, fusion peptides, amyloid peptides, toxins, and ion channels. However, this has been considered to be very difficult, because the amphipathic properties of the constituents of the cell membrane pose tremendous challenges to most commonly used biophysical techniques. In this study, we present the application of a simple 14N solid-state NMR spectroscopy of aligned model membranes containing a phosphatidyl choline lipid to investigate the oligomerization of membrane-associated peptides. Since the near-symmetric nature of the choline headgroup of a phosphocholine lipid considerably reduces the 14N quadrupole coupling, there are significant practical advantages in using 14N solid-state NMR experiments to probe the interaction of peptide or protein with the surface of model membranes. Experimental results for several membrane-associated peptides are presented in this paper. Our results suggest that the experimentally measured 14N quadrupole splitting of the lipid depends on the peptide-induced changes in the electrostatic potential of the lipid bilayer surface and therefore on the nature of the peptide, peptide-membrane interaction, and peptide−peptide interaction. It is inferred that the membrane orientation and oligomerization of the membrane-associated peptides can be measured using 14N solid-state NMR spectroscopy.