X-ray diffraction study of feline leukemia virus fusion peptide and lipid polymorphism

Malcolm J.M. Darkes, Sarah M.A. Davies, Jeremy P. Bradshaw

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14 Citations (SciVal)


The structural effects of the fusion peptide of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) on the lipid polymorphism of N-methylated dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine were studied using a temperature ramp with sequential X-ray diffraction. This peptide, the hydrophobic amino-terminus of p15E, has been proven to be fusogenic and to promote the formation of highly curved, intermediate structures on the lamellar liquid-crystal to inverse hexagonal phase transition pathway. The FeLV peptide produces marked effects on the thermotropic mesomorphic behaviour of MeDOPE, a phospholipid with an intermediate spontaneous radius of curvature. The peptide is shown to reduce the lamellar repeat distance of the membrane prior to the onset of an inverted cubic phase. This suggests that membrane thinning may play a role in peptide-induced membrane fusion and strengthens the link between the fusion pathway and inverted cubic phase formation. The results of this study are interpreted in relation to models of the membrane fusion mechanism. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-182
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 1999


  • Cubic phase
  • Hexagonal phase
  • Membrane thinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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