Modulating dipoles for structure-function correlations in the gramicidin A channel.

PMID 10413493


Dipoles of the tryptophan indole side chains have a direct impact on ion conductance in the gramicidin channel. Here, fluorination of the indoles (both 5- and 6-fluoro) is used to manipulate both the orientations and the magnitudes of the dipoles. The orientations and positions with respect to the channel axis were determined using (2)H solid state NMR of uniformly aligned lipid bilayer preparations. By exchange of the remaining four protons in the indole ring for deuterium, comparison could be made to d(5)-indole spectra that have previously been recorded for each of the four indoles of gramicidin A. After making the assignments which were aided by the observation of (19)F-(2)H dipolar interactions, we found that fluorination caused only minor changes in side chain conformation. With the high-resolution structural characterization of the fluorinated indoles in position 11, 13, and 15, the electrostatic interactions with a cation at the channel and bilayer center can be predicted and the influence of the modified dipoles on ion conductance estimated. The importance of the long-range electrostatic interaction was recently documented with the observation of alpha-helical dipoles oriented toward the bilayer center on the ion conductance pathway for the Streptomyces K(+) channel. We present direct measurements of the orientation of gramicidin channel F-Trp positions for use in analysis of dipole effects on channel permeation.