Caveolin-2 is a protein suitable for the study of interactions of caveolins with other proteins and lipids present in caveolar lipid rafts. Caveolin-2 has a lower tendency to associate with high molecular weight oligomers than caveolin-1, facilitating the study of its structural modulation upon association with other proteins or lipids. In this paper, we have successfully expressed and purified recombinant human caveolin-2 using E. coli. The structural changes of caveolin-2 upon interaction with a lipid bilayer of liposomes were characterized using bioinformatic prediction models, circular dichroism, differential scanning calorimetry, and fluorescence techniques. Our data support that caveolin-2 binds and alters cholesterol-rich domains in the membranes through a CARC domain, a type of cholesterol-interacting domain in its sequence. The far UV-CD spectra support that the purified protein keeps its folding properties but undergoes a change in its secondary structure in the presence of lipids that correlates with the acquisition of a more stable conformation, as shown by differential scanning calorimetry experiments. Fluorescence experiments using egg yolk lecithin large unilamellar vesicles loaded with 1,6-diphenylhexatriene confirmed that caveolin-2 adsorbs to the membrane but only penetrates the core of the phospholipid bilayer if vesicles are supplemented with 30% of cholesterol. Our study sheds light on the caveolin-2 interaction with lipids. In addition, we propose that purified recombinant caveolin-2 can provide a new tool to study protein–lipid interactions within caveolae.
- membrane interaction
- secondary structure prediction