Native supramolecular protein complexes in pulmonary surfactant: Evidences for SP-A/SP-B interactions.


Dept. Biochemistry, Fac. of Biology, and Research Institute "Hospital 12 de Octubre", Complutense University, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


Pulmonary surfactant is a lipid-protein complex which coats lung alveoli. It displays the essential function of reducing surface tension at the air-liquid interface, avoiding alveolar collapse during expiration. The optimized biophysical properties of surfactant rely on its defined composition, constituted mainly by phospholipids and tiny amounts of lipid-associated specific proteins. Due to the highly hydrophobic nature of surfactant, organic solvents have been traditionally employed to obtain and characterize surfactant lipids and proteins, very likely leading to disruption of native interactions among its components. In the present work we have addressed the search of native protein complexes in pulmonary surfactant, which could have an essential role in the optimal function of the system. By solubilizing native lipid-protein membranes of surfactant with non-denaturing detergents, and with the use of a two-dimensional electrophoresis strategy, we have been able to detect the presence of supramolecular complexes composed of surfactant proteins SP-A, SP-B and SP-C. Furthermore, by co-immunoprecipitation assays, we have confirmed for the first time the existence of a direct interaction between SP-A and SP-B, an important feature which could explain the known functional cooperation of both proteins in several aspects of surfactant biology. SIGNIFICANCE: This paper deepens for the first time in the existence of complex interaction networks of surfactant proteins in native surfactant membranes. By the use of non-denaturing detergents, two-dimensional electrophoresis and immunoprecipitation, we have been able to make progress in the elucidation of native protein complexes in this essential system, that had been previously hindered by the classical purification protocols employing organic solvents. In this work, we have described the presence of interactions between SP-B and SP-A, two important proteins whose functional cooperation has been broadly reported in the literature. Pioneer determination of such native complexes could have potential implications for understanding the wide variety of roles of pulmonary surfactant system.


Detergents,Lung,Membrane proteins,Membranes,Phospholipids,Protein–protein interactions,Pulmonary surfactant,

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