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We document a new dimension of surface recognition in which communication is controlled through the collective behavior of lipids. Membrane cholesterol induces a tilt in glycolipid receptor headgroup, resulting in loss of access for ligand binding. This property appears to organize erythrocyte blood group presentation and glycolipid receptor function during the activation of sperm fertility, suggesting that lipid 'allostery' is a means to regulate membrane recognition processes.


Daniel Lingwood, Beth Binnington, Tomasz Róg, Ilpo Vattulainen, Michal Grzybek, Unal Coskun, Clifford A Lingwood, Kai Simons. Cholesterol modulates glycolipid conformation and receptor activity. Nature chemical biology. 2011 May;7(5):260-2

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PMID: 21460830

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