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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 3;1666(1-2):275-88.

Nonbilayer lipids affect peripheral and integral membrane proteins via changes in the lateral pressure profile.

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Department Biochemistry of Membranes, Centre for Biomembranes and Lipid Enzymology, Institute of Biomembranes, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Nonbilayer lipids can be defined as cone-shaped lipids with a preference for nonbilayer structures with a negative curvature, such as the hexagonal phase. All membranes contain these lipids in large amounts. Yet, the lipids in biological membranes are organized in a bilayer. This leads to the question: what is the physiological role of nonbilayer lipids? Different models are discussed in this review, with a focus on the lateral pressure profile within the membrane. Based on this lateral pressure model, predictions can be made for the effect of nonbilayer lipids on peripheral and integral membrane proteins. Recent data on the catalytic domain of Leader Peptidase and the potassium channel KcsA are discussed in relation to these predictions and in relation to the different models on the function of nonbilayer lipids. The data suggest a general mechanism for the interaction between nonbilayer lipids and membrane proteins via the membrane lateral pressure.

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