We used molecular dynamics simulations to explore the effects of asymmetric transbilayer distribution of anionic phosphatidylserine (PS) lipids on the structure of a protein on the membrane surface and subsequent protein-lipid interactions. Our simulation systems consisted of an amyloidogenic, beta-sheet rich dimeric protein (D42) absorbed to the phosphatidylcholine (PC) leaflet, or protein-contact PC leaflet, of two membrane systems: a single-component PC bilayer and double PC/PS bilayers. The latter comprised of a stable but asymmetric transbilayer distribution of PS in the presence of counterions, with a 1-component PC leaflet coupled to a 1-component PS leaflet in each bilayer. The maximally asymmetric PC/PS bilayer had a non-zero transmembrane potential (TMP) difference and higher lipid order packing, whereas the symmetric PC bilayer had a zero TMP difference and lower lipid order packing under physiologically relevant conditions. Analysis of the adsorbed protein structures revealed weaker protein binding, more folding in the N-terminal domain, more aggregation of the N- and C-terminal domains and larger tilt angle of D42 on the PC leaflet surface of the PC/PS bilayer versus the PC bilayer. Also, analysis of protein-induced membrane structural disruption revealed more localized bilayer thinning in the PC/PS versus PC bilayer. Although the electric field profile in the non-protein-contact PS leaflet of the PC/PS bilayer differed significantly from that in the non-protein-contact PC leaflet of the PC bilayer, no significant difference in the electric field profile in the protein-contact PC leaflet of either bilayer was evident. We speculate that lipid packing has a larger effect on the surface adsorbed protein structure than the electric field for a maximally asymmetric PC/PS bilayer. Our results support the mechanism that the higher lipid packing in a lipid leaflet promotes stronger protein-protein but weaker protein-lipid interactions for a dimeric protein on membrane surfaces.
- Asymmetric lipid membrane
- Molecular dynamics simulations
- Protein aggregation
- Protein structures on surfaces
- Protein-lipid interactions