In a recent classification of biologically active amphipathic α‐helixes, the lipid‐associating domains in exchangeable plasma apolipoproteins have been classified as class A amphipathic helixes (Segrest, J. P., De Loof, H., Dohlman, J. G., Brouillette, C. G., Anantharamaiah, G. M. Proteins 8:103–117, 1990). A model peptide analog with the sequence, Asp Trp Leu Lys Ala Phe Tyr Asp Lys Val Ala Glu Lys Leu Lys Glu Ala Phe (18A), possesses the characteristics of a class A amphipathic helix. The addition of an acetyl group at the α‐amino terminus and an amide at the α‐carboxyl terminus, to obtain Ac‐18A‐NH2, produces large increases in helicity for the peptide both in solution and when associated with lipid (for 18A vs Ac‐18A‐NH2, from 6 to 38% helix in buffer and from 49 to 92% helix when bound to dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine in discoidal complexes). Blocking of the end‐groups of 18A stabilizes the α‐helix in the presence of lipid by approximately 1.3 kcal/mol. There is also an increase in the self‐association of the blocked peptide in aqueous solution. The free energy of binding to the PC–water interface is increased only by about 3% (from −8.0 kcal/mol for 18A to −8.3 kcal/mol for Ac‐18A‐NH2). The Ac‐18A‐NH2 has a much greater potency in raising the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of dipalmitoleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine than does 18A. In this regard Ac‐18A‐NH2 more closely resembles the behavior of the apolipoprotein A‐I, which is the major protein component of high‐density lipoprotein and a potent inhibitor of lipid hexagonal phase formation. The activation of the plasma enzyme lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase by the Ac‐18A‐NH2 peptide is greater than the 18A analog and comparable to that observed with the apo A‐I. In the case of Ac‐18A‐NH2, the higher activating potency may be due, at least in part, to the ability of the peptide to micellize egg PC vesicles. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. Copyright © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.