The association of defensin HNP-2 with negatively charged membranes: a combined fluorescence and linear dichroism study

Catherine J. Pridmore, Alison Rodger, John M. Sanderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


The association of defensin HNP-2 with negatively charged membranes has been studied using a new approach that combines fluorescence and linear dichroism (LD) spectroscopies with simulated LD spectra in order to characterise the binding kinetics and bound configurations of the peptide. Binding to membranes composed of mixtures of diacylglycerophosphocholines (PC) with either diacylglycerophosphoglycerol (PG) or diacylglycerophosphoserine (PS) was conducted at lipid:peptide ratios that yielded binding, but not membrane fusion. HNP-2 association with membranes under these conditions was a 2 stage-process, with both stages exhibiting first order kinetics. The fast initial step, with a half-life of < 1 min, was followed by a slower step with a half-life of > 3 min. Conversion between the states was estimated to have an enthalpy of activation of approximately 10 kJ mol-1 and an entropy of activation of-0.2 kJ K mol-1. LD spectra corresponding to each of the membrane bound states were generated by non-linear regression using a standard kinetic model. These spectra are interpreted in comparison with spectra calculated using the program Dichrocalc and reveal that the peptide associates with membranes in a small number of stable configurations. All of these configurations have a significant proportion of β-sheet structure residing in the plane of the membrane. Two configurations support structures previously proposed for defensins in membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-903
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Abbreviations CD circular dichroism
  • DMPC 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • DMPG 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoglycerol
  • DOPC 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • DOPS 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoserine
  • HNP human neutrophil peptide
  • LD linear dichroism
  • POPG 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoglycerol
  • Binding
  • Antibiotic peptide
  • Fluorescence
  • Lipid membrane
  • Linear dichroism
  • Kinetics


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