Interactions and Transport of a Bioconjugated Peptide Targeting the Mitomembrane.

Academic Article


  • The Szeto-Schiller (SS) peptides are a subclass of cell-penetrating peptides that can specifically target mitochondria and mediate conditions caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. In this work, we constructed an iron-chelating SS peptide and studied its interaction with a mitochondrial-mimicking membrane using atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. We report that the peptide/membrane interaction is thermodynamically favorable, and the localization of the peptide to the membrane is driven by electrostatic interactions between the cationic residues and the anionic phospholipid headgroups. The insertion of the peptide into the membrane is driven by hydrophobic interactions between the aromatic side chains in the peptide and the lipid acyl tails. We also probed the translocation of the peptide across the membrane by applying nonequilibrium steered MD simulations and resolved the translocation pathway, free energy profile, and metastable states. We explored four distinct orientations of the peptide along the translocation pathway and found that one orientation was energetically more favorable than the other orientations. We tested a significantly slower pulling velocity on the most thermodynamically favorable system and compared metastable states during peptide translocation. We found that the peptide can optimize hydrophobic interactions with the membrane by having aromatic side chains interacting with the lipid acyl tails instead of forming π-π interactions with each other. The mechanistic insights emerging from our work will potentially facilitate improved peptide design with enhanced activity.
  • Authors

  • Nguyen, Son V
  • Levintov, Lev
  • Planalp, Roy
  • Vashisth, Harish
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 20, 2024
  • Published In


  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 371
  • End Page

  • 380
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 3