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BMC Struct Biol. 2007 Jun 29;7:44.

The role of hydrophobic interactions in positioning of peripheral proteins in membranes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1065, USA. almz@umich.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Three-dimensional (3D) structures of numerous peripheral membrane proteins have been determined. Biological activity, stability, and conformations of these proteins depend on their spatial positions with respect to the lipid bilayer. However, these positions are usually undetermined.

RESULTS:

We report the first large-scale computational study of monotopic/peripheral proteins with known 3D structures. The optimal translational and rotational positions of 476 proteins are determined by minimizing energy of protein transfer from water to the lipid bilayer, which is approximated by a hydrocarbon slab with a decadiene-like polarity and interfacial regions characterized by water-permeation profiles. Predicted membrane-binding sites, protein tilt angles and membrane penetration depths are consistent with spin-labeling, chemical modification, fluorescence, NMR, mutagenesis, and other experimental studies of 53 peripheral proteins and peptides. Experimental membrane binding affinities of peripheral proteins were reproduced in cases that did not involve a helix-coil transition, specific binding of lipids, or a predominantly electrostatic association. Coordinates of all examined peripheral proteins and peptides with the calculated hydrophobic membrane boundaries, subcellular localization, topology, structural classification, and experimental references are available through the Orientations of Proteins in Membranes (OPM) database.

CONCLUSION:

Positions of diverse peripheral proteins and peptides in the lipid bilayer can be accurately predicted using their 3D structures that represent a proper membrane-bound conformation and oligomeric state, and have membrane binding elements present. The success of the implicit solvation model suggests that hydrophobic interactions are usually sufficient to determine the spatial position of a protein in the membrane, even when electrostatic interactions or specific binding of lipids are substantial. Our results demonstrate that most peripheral proteins not only interact with the membrane surface, but penetrate through the interfacial region and reach the hydrocarbon interior, which is consistent with published experimental studies.

PMID:
17603894
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1934363
Free PMC Article

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