An anion-selective analogue of the channel-forming peptide alamethicin.
Starostin AV., Butan R., Borisenko V., James DA., Wenschuh H., Sansom MS., Woolley GA.
The peptide alamethicin self-assembles to form helix bundle ion channels in membranes. Previous macroscopic measurements have shown that these channels are mildly cation-selective. Models indicate that a source of cation selectivity is a zone of partial negative charge toward the C-terminal end of the peptide. We synthesized an alamethicin derivative with a lysine in this zone (replacing the glutamine at position 18 in the sequence). Microscopic (single-channel) measurements demonstrate that dimeric alamethicin-lysine18 (alm-K18) forms mildly anion-selective channels under conditions where channels formed by the parent peptide are cation-selective. Long-range electrostatic interactions can explain the inversion of ion selectivity and the conductance properties of alamethicin channels.