Protein-membrane interaction and fatty acid transfer from intestinal fatty acid-binding protein to membranes: Support for a multistep process

Lisandro J. Falomir-Lockhart, Lisandro Laborde, Peter C. Kahn, Judith Storch, Betina Córsico

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31 Scopus citations


Fatty acid transfer from intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (IFABP) to phospholipid membranes occurs during protein-membrane collisions. Electrostatic interactions involving the α-helical "portal" region of the protein have been shown to be of great importance. In the present study, the role of specific lysine residues in the α-helical region of IFABP was directly examined. A series of point mutants in rat IFABP was engineered in which the lysine positive charges in this domain were eliminated or reversed. Using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay, we analyzed the rates and mechanism of fatty acid transfer from wild type and mutant proteins to acceptor membranes. Most of the α-helical domain mutants showed slower absolute fatty acid transfer rates to zwitterionic membranes, with substitution of one of the lysines of the α2 helix, Lys27, resulting in a particularly dramatic decrease in the fatty acid transfer rate. Sensitivity to negatively charged phospholipid membranes was also reduced, with charge reversal mutants in the α2 helix the most affected. The results support the hypothesis that the portal region undergoes a conformational change during protein-membrane interaction, which leads to release of the bound fatty acid to the membrane and that the α2 segment is of particular importance in the establishment of charge-charge interactions between IFABP and membranes. Cross-linking experiments with a phospholipid-photoactivable reagent underscored the importance of charge-charge interactions, showing that the physical interaction between wild-type intestinal fatty acid-binding protein and phospholipid membranes is enhanced by electrostatic interactions. Protein-membrane interactions were also found to be enhanced by the presence of ligand, suggesting different collisional complex structures for holo- and apo-IFABP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13979-13989
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 19 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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