Electrostatic repulsion between positively charged groups has been suggested to be critical in determining the conformation of melittin. To clarify the role of repulsive forces, we prepared a series of succinylated melittins, an acetylated melittin, and a synthetic melittin mutant, with various degrees of charge repulsion. The conformation of the melittin derivatives was examined by far-UV circular dichroism under various conditions of pH and salt at 20 degrees C. The stability of the tetrameric helical state was found to be dependent on the net charge of the peptides. The charge repulsive forces destabilized the helical state of intact melittin by 600 cal/(charge.mol of tetramer). This value was close to the corresponding one (450 cal/(charge.mol)) obtained for the acidic molten globule of horse cytochrome c [Goto, Y., & Nishikiori, S. (1991) J. Mol. Biol. 222, 679-686], which has a molecular weight and a net charge comparable to those of the tetrameric melittin. Small-angle X-ray scattering of the tetrameric melittin and the molten globule of cytochrome c showed that the two states are also comparable to each other in the radius of gyration. These results suggest that the contribution of electrostatic repulsion to the conformational stability of melittin is similar to that of the molten globule. Study holds ProTherm entries: 4791 Extra Details:
Submitter: Connie Wang
Submission Date: April 24, 2018, 8:27 p.m.