Structures and mechanisms of formation of liprotides

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Many proteins form complexes called liprotides with oleic acid and other cis-fatty acids under conditions where the protein is partially unfolded. The complexes vary in structure depending on the ratio of protein and lipid, but the most common structural organization is the core-shell structure, in which a layer of dynamic, partially unfolded and extended proteins surrounds a micelle-like fatty acid core. This structure, first reported for α-lactalbumin together with OA, resembles complexes formed between proteins and anionic surfactants like SDS. Liprotides first rose to fame through their anti-carcinogenic properties which still remains promising for topical applications though not yet implemented in the clinic. In addition, liprotides show potential in drug delivery thanks to the ability of the micelle core to solubilize and stabilize hydrophobic compounds, though applications are challenged by their sensitivity to acidic pH and dynamic exchange of lipids which makes them easy prey for serum "hoovers" such as albumin. However, liprotides are also of fundamental interest as a generic "protein complex structure", demonstrating the many and varied structural consequences of protein-lipid interactions. Here we provide an overview of the different types of liprotide complexes, ranging from quasi-native complexes via core-shell structures to multi-layer structures, and discuss the many conditions under which they form. Given the many variable types of complexes that can form, rigorous biophysical analysis (stoichiometry, shape and structure of the complexes) remains crucial for a complete understanding of the mechanisms of action of this fascinating group of protein-lipid complexes both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140505
JournalB B A - Proteins and Proteomics
Volume1868
Issue11
Number of pages12
ISSN1570-9639
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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