2Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia
3Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
4Frumkin Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119071 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received January 11, 2018; Revision received May 14, 2018
Entry of many viral and bacterial pathogens into host cells depends on cholesterol and/or cholesterol-enriched domains (lipid rafts) in the cell membrane. Earlier, we showed that influenza virus A matrix protein M1 contains amphipathic α-helices with exposed cholesterol-recognizing amino acid consensus (CRAC) motifs. In order to test possible functional activity of these motifs, we studied the effects of three synthetic peptides corresponding to the CRAC-containing α-helices of the viral M1 protein on the phagocytic activity of cultured mouse IC-21 macrophages. The following peptides were used: LEVLMEWLKTR (M1 α-helix 3, a.a. 39-49; further referred to as peptide 1), NNMDKAVKLYRKLK (M1 α-helix 6, a.a. 91-105; peptide 2), and GLKNDLLENLQAYQKR (M1 α-helix 13, a.a. 228-243; peptide 3). We found that all three peptides modulated interactions of IC-21 macrophages with non-opsonized 2-µm target particles. The greatest effect was demonstrated by peptide 2: in the presence of 35 μM peptide 2, the phagocytic index of IC-21 macrophages exceeded the control value by 60%; 10-11 mM methyl-β-cyclodextrin abolished this effect. Peptides 1 and 3 exerted weak inhibitory effect in a narrow concentration range of 5-10 μM. The dose-response curves could be approximated by a sum of two (stimulatory and inhibitory) components with different Hill coefficients, suggesting existence of at least two peptide-binding sites with different affinities on the cell surface. CD spectroscopy confirmed that the peptides exhibit structural flexibility in solutions. Altogether, our data indicate that amphipathic CRAC-containing peptides derived from the viral M1 protein modulate lipid raft-dependent processes in IC-21 macrophages.
KEY WORDS: peptides, influenza virus protein M1, amphipathic helices, lipid rafts, cholesterol, macrophages, phagocytosis