Ion channel formation by synthetic analogues of staphylococcal delta-toxin.
Kerr ID., Dufourcq J., Rice JA., Fredkin DR., Sansom MS.
Ion channel formation by three analogues of staphylococcal delta-toxin, an amphipathic and alpha-helical channel-forming peptide, has been evaluated by measurement of ionic currents across planar lipid bilayers. Replacement of beta-branched, hydrophobic residues by leucine and movement of a tryptophan residue from the hydrophilic to the hydrophobic face of the helix does not significantly alter ion channel activity. Removal of the N-terminal blocking group combined with the substitution of glycine-10 by leucine changes the single channel properties of delta-toxin, without altering macroscopic conductance/voltage behaviour. Truncation of the N-terminus by three residues results in complete loss of channel-forming activity. These changes in channel-forming properties upon altering the peptide sequence do not mirror changes in haemolytic activity. The results lend support to the proposal that channel formation and haemolysis are distinct events. Channel properties are discussed in the context of a model in which the pore is formed by a bundle of approximately parallel transbilayer helices.