Maximally asymmetric transbilayer distribution of anionic lipids alters the structure and interaction with lipids of an amyloidogenic protein dimer bound to the membrane surface

Sara Y. Cheng, George Chou, Creighton Buie, Mark W. Vaughn, Campbell Compton, Kwan H. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016



  • Asymmetric lipid membrane
  • Beta-amyloid
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein structures on surfaces
  • Protein-lipid interactions

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