Electrostatic interactions, but not the YGNGV consensus motif, govern the binding of pediocin PA-1 and its fragments to phospholipid vesicles

Yuhuan Chen, Richard D. Ludescher, Thomas J. Montville

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The purpose of this study was to characterize in detail the binding of pediocin PA-1 and its fragments to target membranes by using tryptophan fluorescence as a probe. Based on a three-dimensional model (Y. Chen, R. Shapira, M. Eisenstein, and T. J. Montville, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 63:524-531, 1997), four synthetic N-terminal pediocin fragments were selected to study the mechanism of the initial step by which the bacteriocin associates with membranes. Binding of pediocin PA-1 to vesicles of phosphatidylglycerol, the major component of Listeria membranes, caused an increase in the intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence intensity with a blue shift of the emission maximum. The Stern-Volmer constants for acrylamide quenching of the fluorescence of pediocin PA-1 in buffer and in the lipid vesicles were 8.83 ± 0.42 and 3.53 ± 0.67 M-1, respectively, suggesting that the tryptophan residues inserted into the hydrophobic core of the lipid bilayer. The synthetic pediocin fragments bound strongly to the lipid vesicles when a patch of positively charged amino acid residues (K-11 and H-12) was present but bound weakly when this patch was mutated out. Quantitative comparison of changes in tryptophan fluorescence parameters, as well as the dissociation constants for pediocin PA-1 and its fragments, revealed that the relative affinity to the lipid vesicles paralleled the net positive charge in the peptide. The relative affinity for the fragment containing the YGNGV consensus motif was 10-fold lower than that for the fragment containing the positive patch. Furthermore, changing the pH from 6.0 to 8.0 decreased binding of the fragments containing the positive patch, probably due to deprotonation of His residues. These results demonstrate that electrostatic interactions, but not the YGNGV motif, govern pediocin binding to the target membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4770-4777
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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