1.C.32 The Amphipathic Peptide Mastoparan (Mastoparan) Family
Mastoparans are 14 (sometimes 13 or 15) amino acyl residue, amphipathic, α-helical peptides present in the venom of hornets, wasps and yellow jackets. They exert numerous biological effects including (1) degranulation of mast cells, (2) G-protein receptor mimicry, (3) phospholipase A2 stimulation, and (4) inhibition of Golgi vesicle transport. They all increase bilayer permeability to hydrophilic solutes by forming short lived pores. Because they are too short to span the membrane as amphipathic α-helices (a configuration they assume when in association with membranes), it is thought that they form bundles of peptides in a so called "barrel-stove" configuration. Pore formation has been demonstrated electrophysiologically as well as by demonstrating increased permeability to hydrophilic molecules and dyes. Their actual transmembrane architecture is unknown.
The generalized transport reaction catalyzed by mastoparan pores is:
Small molecules (in) Small molecules (out)