William T Heller

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Magainin, found in the skin of Xenopus laevis, belongs to a broad class of antimicrobial peptides which kill bacteria by permeabilizing the cytoplasmic membrane but do not lyse eukaryotic cells. The 23-residue peptide has been shown to form an amphiphilic helix when associated with membranes. However, its molecular mechanism of action has been(More)
We present a quantitative analysis of the effects of hydrophobic matching and membrane-mediated protein-protein interactions exhibited by gramicidin embedded in dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and dilauroylphosphatidylcholine (DLPC) bilayers (Harroun et al., 1999. Biophys. J. 76:937-945). Incorporating gramicidin, at 1:10 peptide/lipid molar ratio,(More)
Hydrophobic matching, in which transmembrane proteins cause the surrounding lipid bilayer to adjust its hydrocarbon thickness to match the length of the hydrophobic surface of the protein, is a commonly accepted idea in membrane biophysics. To test this idea, gramicidin (gD) was embedded in 1, 2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DLPC) and 1,(More)
Lipid bilayers containing the antimicrobial peptide protegrin-1 (PG-1) were studied by lamellar X-ray diffraction. Previously, we have shown that the peptide exists in two distinct states when associated with lipid bilayers depending on the peptide concentration [Heller, W. T., Waring, A. J., Lehrer, R. I., and Huang, H. W. (1998) Biochemistry 37,(More)
Alamethicin adsorbs on the membrane surface at low peptide concentrations. However, above a critical peptide-to-lipid ratio (P/L), a fraction of the peptide molecules insert in the membrane. This critical ratio is lipid dependent. For diphytanoyl phosphatidylcholine it is about 1/40. At even higher concentrations P/L > or = 1/15, all of the alamethicin(More)
Adsorption of amphiphilic peptides to the headgroup region of a lipid bilayer is a common mode of protein-membrane interactions. Previous studies have shown that adsorption causes membrane thinning. The degree of the thinning depends on the degree of the lateral expansion caused by the peptide adsorption. If this simple molecular mechanism is correct, the(More)
Protegrin-1 (PG-1), a beta-sheet antimicrobial peptide, was studied in aligned lipid bilayers by oriented circular dichroism (OCD). All of its spectra measured in a variety of lipid compositions were linear superpositions of two primary basis spectra, indicating that PG-1 existed in two different states in membranes. We designated these as state S and state(More)
A common structural motif for many proteins comprises rigid domains connected by a flexible hinge or linker. The flexibility afforded by these domains is important for proper function and such proteins may be able to adopt more than one conformation in solution under equilibrium conditions. Small-angle scattering of proteins in solution samples all(More)
p27(Kip1) (p27), which controls eukaryotic cell division through interactions with cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks), integrates and transduces promitogenic signals from various nonreceptor tyrosine kinases by orchestrating its own phosphorylation, ubiquitination and degradation. Intrinsic flexibility allows p27 to act as a "conduit" for sequential signaling(More)
The generation of bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass holds great promise for renewable and clean energy production. A better understanding of the complex mechanisms of lignocellulose breakdown during various pretreatment methods is needed to realize this potential in a cost and energy efficient way. Here we use small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to(More)