Investigating the interactions of the first 17 amino acid residues of Huntingtin with lipid vesicles using mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics.

Research paper by Ahmad A Kiani Karanji, Maryssa M Beasely, Daud D Sharif, Ali A Ranjbaran, Justin J Legleiter, Stephen J SJ Valentine

Indexed on: 24 Nov '19Published on: 23 Nov '19Published in: Biological Mass Spectrometry


The first 17 amino acid residues of Huntingtin protein (Nt17 of htt) are thought to play an important role in the protein's function; Nt17 is one of two membrane binding domains in htt. In this study the binding ability of Nt17 peptide with vesicles comprised of two subclasses of phospholipids is studied using electrospray ionization - mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Overall, the peptide is shown to have a greater propensity to interact with vesicles of phosphatidylcholine (PC) rather than phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) lipids. Mass spectra show an increase in lipid-bound peptide adducts where the ordering of the number of such specie is 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) > 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) > 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3 phosphoethanolamine (POPE). MD simulations suggest that the compactness of the bilayer plays a role in governing peptide interactions. The peptide shows greater disruption of the DOPC bilayer order at the surface and interacts with the hydrophobic tails of lipid molecules via hydrophobic residues. Conversely, the POPE vesicle remains ordered and lipids display transient interactions with the peptide through the formation of hydrogen bonds with hydrophilic residues. The POPC system displays intermediate behavior with regard to the degree of peptide-membrane interaction. Finally, the simulations suggest a helix stabilizing effect resulting from the interactions between hydrophobic residues and the lipid tails of the DOPC bilayer. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.