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J Gen Physiol. 2018 Feb 6. pii: jgp.201711907. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201711907. [Epub ahead of print]

Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations reveal lipid access pathways in P-glycoprotein.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences and Centre for Molecular Simulation, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
2
Department of Biological Sciences and Centre for Molecular Simulation, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada tieleman@ucalgary.ca.

Abstract

P-glycoprotein (P-gp) exports a broad range of dissimilar compounds, including drugs, lipids, and lipid-like molecules. Because of its substrate promiscuity, P-gp is a key player in the development of cancer multidrug resistance. Although P-gp is one of the most studied ABC transporters, the mechanism by which its substrates access the cavity remains unclear. In this study, we perform coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to explore possible lipid access pathways in the inward-facing conformation of P-gp embedded in bilayers of different lipid compositions. In the inward-facing orientation, only lipids from the lower leaflet access the cavity of the transporter. We identify positively charged residues at the portals of P-gp that favor lipid entrance to the cavity, as well as lipid-binding sites at the portals and within the cavity, which is in good agreement with previous experimental studies. This work includes several examples of lipid pathways for phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine lipids that help elucidate the molecular mechanism of lipid binding in P-gp.

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