• Ramakrishnan Nagaraj

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Interaction of 18-residue peptides derived from amphipathic helical segments of globular proteins with model membranes

      Chandrasekaran Sivakamasundari Ramakrishnan Nagaraj

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      We investigated the interaction of six 18-residue peptides derived from amphipathic helical segments of globular proteins with model membranes. The net charge of the peptides at neutral pH varies from –1 to +6. Circular dichroism spectra indicate that peptides with a high net positive charge tend to fold into a helical conformation in the presence of negatively charged lipid vesicles. In helical conformation, their average hydrophobic moment and hydrophobicity would render them surface-active. The composition of amino acids on the polar face of the helix in the peptides is considerably different. The peptides show variations in their ability to permeabilise zwitterionic and anionic lipid vesicles. Whereas increased net positive charge favours greater permeabilisation, the distribution of charged residues in the polar face also plays a role in determining membrane activity. The distribution of amino acids in the polar face of the helix in the peptides that were investigated do not fall into the canonical classes described. Amphipathic helices, which are part of proteins, with a pattern of amino acid distribution different from those observed in class L, A and others, could help in providing newer insights into peptide–membrane interactions.

    • Aggregation properties of a short peptide that mediates amyloid fibril formation in model proteins unrelated to disease

      Nitin Chaudhary Shashi Singh Ramakrishnan Nagaraj

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      Short peptides have been identified from amyloidogenic proteins that form amyloid fibrils in isolation. The hexapeptide stretch 21DIDLHL26 has been shown to be important in the self-assembly of the Src homology 3 (SH3) domain of p85𝛼 subunit of bovine phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3-SH3). The SH3 domain of chicken brain 𝛼-spectrin, which is otherwise non-amyloidogenic, is rendered amyloidogenic if 22EVTMKK27 is replaced by DIDLHL. In this article, we describe the aggregation behaviour of DIDLHL-COOH and DIDLHL-CONH2. Our results indicate that DIDLHL-COOH and DIDLHL-CONH2 aggregate to form spherical structures at pH 5 and 6. At pH 5, in the presence of mica, DIDLHL-CONH2 forms short fibrous structures. The presence of NaCl along with mica results in fibrillar structures. At pH 6, DIDLHL-CONH2 forms largely spherical aggregates. Both the peptides are unstructured in solution but adopt 𝛽-conformation on drying. The aggregates formed by DIDLHL-COOH and DIDLHL-CONH2 are formed during drying process and their structures are modulated by the presence of mica and salt. Our study suggests that a peptide need not have intrinsic amyloidogenic propensity to facilitate the selfassembly of the full-length protein. The propensity of peptides to form self-assembled structures that are non-amyloidogenic could be important in potentiating the self-assembly of full-length proteins into amyloid fibrils.

    • Fatty acyl chain-dependent but charge-independent association of the SH4 domain of Lck with lipid membranes

      Anoop Rawat Avaronnan Harishchandran Ramakrishnan Nagaraj

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      The SH4 domain of Src family of nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases represents the extreme N-terminal 1–16 amino acid region which mediates membrane association of these proteins and facilitates their functions. The SH4 domains among Src members lack well-defined sequence consensus and vary in the net charge. However, they readily anchor to the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane upon fatty acid acylation. Here, we report the membrane association of differentially acylated SH4 domain of Lck kinase, which has net negative charge at physiological pH. Our results suggest that despite the net negative charge, the SH4 domain of Lck associates with membranes upon fatty acid acylation. While myristoylation at the N-terminus is sufficient for providing membrane anchorage, multiple acylation determines orientation of the peptide chain with respect to the lipid bilayer. Hence, fatty acylation serves more than just a lipid anchor. It has an important role in regulating the spatial orientation of the peptide domain with respect to the lipid bilayer, which could be important for the interaction of the other domains of these kinases with their partners.

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