Studies on the Conformation of Transmembrane Polypeptides in Membrane Proteins
The major aim of the studies that this thesis is based on has been to better define the topological determinants of the formation of so-called helical hairpins during membrane protein assembly in the ER membrane.The helical hairpin is a basic folding unit in membrane proteins. It is composed of two closely spaced transmembrane helices with a short connecting loop and it is believed to be inserted into the membrane as one compact unit. It is becoming increasingly clear that the helical hairpin is a very common structural element in membrane proteins and a detailed understanding of its properties is of central importance.We demonstrate that the efficiency of formation of helical hairpins depends both on the overall length of the hydrophobic segment, on the amino acids flanking the transmembrane segment, and on the identity of the central, potentially turn-forming residues. We also show that interhelical hydrogen bonds between pairs of Asn or Asp residues can induce helical hairpin formation.A detailed topology mapping is also reported for the Escherichia coli inner membrane chloride channel YadQ, a protein for which the X-ray structure is known. Our results provide a critical test of the reporter fusion approach and offer new insights into the YadQ folding pathway.In summary, the results present in this thesis have increased our understanding of the determinants of membrane protein topology and structure. Furthermore, the information obtained can be used to improve current models for predictions of membrane protein topology.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Biochemistry; membrane protein; topology; transmembrane helix; helical hairpin; turn propensity
Date of Publication:01/01/2005