Interaction of Cardiotoxin A5 with Membrane: Role of Conformational Heterogeneity and Hydrophobic Properties


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Abstract

The hypothesis that local conformational differences of the snake venom cardiotoxins (cytotoxins, CT) may play a significant role in their interaction with membrane was tested by molecular modeling of the behavior of the CT A5 from the venom of Naja atra in water and at the water–membrane interface. Two models of the CT A5 spatial structure are known: the first was obtained by X-ray analysis and the second, by NMR studies in solution. A molecular dynamics (MD) analysis demonstrated that loop II of the toxin has a fixed Ω-like shape in water, which does not depend on its initial structure. An interaction of the experimentally derived (X-ray and NMR) conformations and MD simulated conformations of CT A5 with the lipid bilayer was studied by the Monte Carlo method using the previously developed model of the implicit membrane. It is found that: (1) unlike the previously studied CT2 from the venom of cobra Naja oxiana, CT A5 has only loops I and II bound to the membrane with the involvement of a lesser number of hydrophobic residues. (2) A long hydrophobic area is formed on the surface of CT A5 due to the Ω-like shape of loop II and the arrangement of loop I in proximity to loop II. This hydrophobic area favors the toxin embedding into the lipid bilayer. (3) The toxin retains its conformation upon interaction with the membrane. (4) The CT A5 molecule has close values of the potential energy in the membrane and in aqueous environment, which suggests dynamic character of the binding. The results of the molecular modeling indicate a definite configuration of loops I and II and, consequently, a specific character of distribution of polar and apolar properties on the toxin surface, which turns out to be the most energetically favorable.

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