The tendency of magainin to associate upon binding to phospholipid bilayers.

PMID 9100031


Fluorescence energy transfer (FET) from [Trp16]-magainin-2-amide (Trp-Mag) and [D-Ala15,D-Trp16]magainin-2-amide (DD-Trp-Mag) to N(alpha)-dansyl-magainin-2-amide (DNS-Mag) was used to study the association of magainin 2 analogs bound to phosphatidylglycerol vesicles. As shown by circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy, the all-L-analogs exist in a helical conformation and are completely bound to the lipid membrane. The observed FET between Trp-Mag and DNS-Mag is rather small and increases with the DNS-Mag surface concentration. The experimentally determined transfer efficiency is lower than predicted for monomeric magainin analogs randomly distributed exclusively at the outer leaflet of lipid vesicles. These observations can be explained by two different models of spatial distribution for the monomeric magainin analogs. The first model takes into account translocation of magainin which might result in a uniform distribution of magainin at the inner and outer vesicle leaflets. The second model assumes that at least one shell of lipids exists between two magainin molecules, thus reducing the probability of direct contact. Both models explain the measured FET without any contribution of stable associates of magainin analogs. Furthermore, for Trp-Mag and DD-Trp-Mag, an identical energy transfer efficiency was observed, although the nonhelical double-D substituted analog should have a significantly reduced association tendency resulting in decreased FET. Our conclusion that the observed FET is not the result of magainin association is confirmed by the equivalence of the measured energy transfer efficiencies.