Fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy of lipid-peptide interactions on supported lipid bilayers
Electrostatic interactions drive molecular assembly and organization in the plasma membrane. Specific protein-lipid interactions, however, are difficult to resolve. Here we report on a unique approach to investigate these interactions with time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. The experiments were performed on a model membrane system consisting of a supported lipid bilayer with an asymmetric distribution of PIP2 in the upper leaflet of the bilayer. The bilayer also contained nickel-chelating lipids that bind to a histidine-tagged peptide of interest. Both the peptide and the lipid were labeled with orthogonal fluorescent probes, so that diffusion and binding could be measured with two-color, pulsed-interleaved excitation fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (PIE-FCCS). Our PIE-FCCS data showed significant lipid-peptide cross-correlation between PIP2 lipids and membrane-bound cationic peptides. Cross-correlation is a direct indication of lipid-peptide binding and complexation. Together with mobility data, we quantified the degree of binding, which offers new insight into this class of lipid-peptide interactions. Overall, this is the first report of lipid-peptide cross-correlation by FCCS, and provides a new route to quantifying the interactions between proteins and lipid membranes, a key interface in cell signaling.