Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Molecular dynamics simulations of the interactions of kinin peptides with an anionic POPG bilayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3713-3722
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2011
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


We have performed molecular dynamics simulations of peptide hormone bradykinin (BK) and its fragment des-Arg9-BK in the presence of an anionic lipid bilayer, with an aim toward delineating the mechanism of action related to their bioactivity. Starting from the initial aqueous environment, both of the peptides are quickly adsorbed and stabilized on the cell surface. Whereas BK exhibits a stronger interaction with the membrane and prefers to stay on the interface, des-Arg9-BK, with the loss of C-terminal Arg, penetrates further. The heterogeneous lipid-water interface induces β-turn-like structure in the otherwise inherently flexible peptides. In the membrane-bound state, we observed C-terminal β-turn formation in BK, whereas for des-Arg9-BK, with the deletion of Arg9, turn formation occurred in the middle of the peptide. The basic Arg residues anchor the peptide to the bilayer by strong electrostatic interactions with charged lipid headgroups. Simulations with different starting orientations of the peptides with respect to the bilayer surface lead to the same observations, namely, the relative positioning of the peptides on the membrane surface, deeper penetration of the des-Arg9-BK, and the formation of turn structures. The lipid headgroups adjacent to the bound peptides become substantially tilted, causing bilayer thinning near the peptide contact region and increase the degree of disorder in nearby lipids. Again, because of hydrogen bonding with the peptide, the neighboring lipid's polar heads exhibit considerably reduced flexibility. Corroborating findings from earlier experiments, our results provide important information about how the lipid environment promotes peptide orientation/conformation and how the peptide adapts to the environment.