Helix to beta conformational transitions in proteins has attracted much attention due to their relevance to fibril formation which is implicated in many neurological diseases. This study reports on unusual conformational transition of cytochrome C adsorbing to hydrophilic surface containing pure cationic lipid and mixed LangmuirBlodgett films (LB films) of cationic and neutral lipids. Evidence for conformational changes of the protein from its native helical state to beta sheet comes from Circular dichroic spectroscopy (CD spectroscopy). Analysis of these samples using High resolution TEM (HRTEM) shows a typical fibrillar pattern with each strand spacing of about 0.41 nm across which can be attributed to the repeat distance of interdigitated neighboring hydrogen-bonded ribbons in a beta sheet. Changes in contact angles of protein adsorbing to the LB films together with the increased mass uptake of water using quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) confirm the role of positive charges in the conformational transition. Dehydration of the protein resulting from the excess water entrainment in the polar planes of the cationic lipid in hydrophilic surface seems to trigger the refolding of the protein to beta sheet while it retains its native conformation in hydrophobic films. The results suggest that drastic conformational changes in CytC adsorbing to cationic lipids may be of significance in its role as a peripheral membrane protein.
Sankaranarayanan, Kamatchi, B.U. Nair, A. Dhathathreyan
Applied Surface Science