New Evidence for a Membrane-Bound Pathway in Hormone Receptor Binding

Luis Moroder, Roberta Romano, Wolfgang Guba, Dale F. Mierke, Horst Kessler, Christine Delporte, Jacques Winand, Jean Christophe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


The fully active cholecystokinin analog (Thr,Nle)-CCK-9 was lipo-derivatized by N-terminal grafting of a dimyristoylglycerol moiety to induce tight interdigitation with cell membrane bilayers. While the parent CCK peptide was shown to interact only transiently with small unilamellar phospholipid vesicles, the lipo-CCK peptide, although self-aggregating into vesicles, inserts rapidly and quantitatively into phospholipid bilayers. Fluorescence and, even more so, NMR data are supportive for a chain reversal of the CCK moiety of the lipo derivative with embedment of the C-terminus into hydrophobic compartments of the bilayer. MD simulations allowed for a proposal of the folded form of CCK in bilayers with a helical array parallel to the interface and an amphipathic display of the side chains. In this model, the phenylalanine aromatic ring is heading the peptide molecule and may thus play a decisive role in the lateral penetration of the receptor at the water/lipid interface. In fact, despite the membrane-bound state, its binding affinity for rat pancreatic acini is comparable to that of the CCK peptide when tested after a 3-h equilibration period but 5–6-fold lower at 45 min, suggesting that the association rate is significantly lower than that of the unmodified CCK peptide. This can rationally be attributed to the tight interdigitation of the double-tailed lipo moiety with the membrane bilayer. Moreover, an escape of the lipopeptide into the extracellular aqueous phase is energetically highly unfavored; therefore, the receptor can only be reached by a membrane-bound two-dimensional migration. The observed difference in amplification between binding and amylase secretion may result from inadequate occupation of low-affinity CCK receptors, which leads then to poor couplings to G-proteins. Nevertheless the data confirm that lateral penetration of receptor structures is possible, and thus, preadsorption of peptide (neuro)hormones at the cell membrane bilayer may indeed represent the first step in the receptor recognition process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13551-13559
Number of pages9
Issue number49
StatePublished - 1993


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