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Cell membranes show an intricate organization of lipids and membrane proteins into domains with distinct composition and hydrophobic thickness. Using mechanosensitive ion channels as a model system, we employ the membrane elasticity theory of lipid-protein interactions together with the Landau-Ginzburg theory of lipid domain formation to quantify protein-induced lipid bilayer thickness deformations in lipid bilayers with heterogeneous hydrophobic thickness. We show that protein-induced lipid bilayer thickness deformations yield, without any assumptions about preferential interactions between particular lipid and protein species, organization of lipids and membrane proteins according to their preferred hydrophobic thickness, and couple the conformational states of membrane proteins to the local membrane composition. Our calculations suggest that protein-induced lipid bilayer thickness deformations endow proteins in cell membranes with diverse and controlled mechanical environments that, in turn, allow targeted regulation of membrane proteins.

Citation

Ahis Shrestha, Osman Kahraman, Christoph A Haselwandter. Regulation of membrane proteins through local heterogeneity in lipid bilayer thickness. Physical review. E. 2020 Dec;102(6-1):060401


PMID: 33465991

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