Structural Studies Of Apelin And Its Receptor As Well As The Characteristics And Causes Of Membrane Protein Helix Kinks
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Apelin, the endogenous ligand to the apelin receptor, is a small peptide involved with cardiovascular regulation. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, I demonstrate that at low temperature, residues R6-L9 and G13-F17 of apelin are more structured than the rest of the peptide. I also study the interactions of apelin with sodium dodecylsulphate (SDS), dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) and 1-palmitoyl-2-hydroxy-sn- glycero-3-[phospho-RAC-(1-glycerol)] (LPPG) micelles. Apelin binds to SDS micelles through residues R6-L9, with structure being induced in this region as well as the C- terminus of the peptide. The binding to micelles along with the corresponding change in structure make it likely that apelin binds to the apelin receptor following the membrane catalysis hypothesis. NMR spectroscopy was used to determine the structure of the N- terminal tail and first transmembrane segment of the apelin receptor (AR55) in DPC micelles. AR55 has two disrupted helices from D14-K25 and from A29-K57. The second helix is the membrane spanning region of AR55 and has a significant kink located at N46. Mutagenesis of the apelin receptor and functional assays indicate that G42, G45 and N46 are essential for the proper trafficking and function of AR. In the N-terminal tail, the functionally critical residues E20 and D23 form an anionic face that could take part in initial binding of apelin to AR. The structure of AR55 was also determined in SDS micelles, LPPG micelles and a 1:1 water: 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) solution. Overall, the micelle spanning region of AR55 has a consistent structure with a kink near N46. The N-terminal tail of AR55 is more variable, having similar structures in the micelle conditions but being largely helical in 50% HFIP. NMR relaxation experiments indicate that the N-terminal tail of AR55 undergoes much more motion in LPPG micelles compared to SDS and DPC micelles. Finally, I created a program named MC-HELAN that characterizes the kinks that occur in protein helices. I used MC- HELAN to analyze all non-redundant membrane protein structures as of March 2010. Membrane protein helix kinks are remarkably common and diverse. Initial attempts to predict membrane protein kinks using only the protein sequence were unsuccessful.