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Biochimica et biophysica acta

The p10 FAST protein fusion peptide functions as a cystine noose to induce cholesterol-dependent liposome fusion without liposome tubulation.


PMID 25450808

Abstract

The reovirus p10 fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins are the smallest known membrane fusion proteins, and evolved specifically to mediate cell-cell, rather than virus-cell, membrane fusion. The 36-40-residue ectodomains of avian reovirus (ARV) and Nelson Bay reovirus (NBV) p10 contain an essential intramolecular disulfide bond required for both cell-cell fusion and lipid mixing between liposomes. To more clearly define the functional, biochemical and biophysical features of this novel fusion peptide, synthetic peptides representing the p10 ectodomains of ARV and NBV were analyzed by solution-state NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy-based hydrophobicity analysis, and liposome binding and fusion assays. Results indicate that disulfide bond formation promotes exposure of hydrophobic residues, as indicated by bis-ANS binding and time-dependent peptide aggregation under aqueous conditions, implying the disulfide bond creates a small, geometrically constrained, cystine noose. Noose formation is required for peptide partitioning into liposome membranes and liposome lipid mixing, and electron microscopy revealed that liposome-liposome fusion occurs in the absence of liposome tubulation. In addition, p10 fusion peptide activity, but not membrane partitioning, is dependent on membrane cholesterol.