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Membrane protein dynamics: limited lipid control

By Balázs Szalontai


Correlation of lipid disorder with membrane protein dynamics has been studied with infrared spectroscopy, by combining data characterizing lipid phase, protein structure and, via hydrogen-deuterium (H/D) exchange, protein dynamics. The key element was a new measuring scheme, by which the combined effects of time and temperature on the H/D exchange could be separated. Cyanobacterial and plant thylakoid membranes, mammalian mitochondria membranes, and for comparison, lysozyme were investigated. In dissolved lysozyme, as a function of temperature, H/D exchange involved only reversible movements (the secondary structure did not change considerably); heat-denaturing was a separate event at much higher temperature. Around the low-temperature functioning limit of the biomembranes, lipids affected protein dynamics since changes in fatty acyl chain disorders and H/D exchange exhibited certain correlation. H/D exchange remained low in all membranes over physiological temperatures. Around the high-temperature functioning limit of the membranes, the exchange rates became higher. When temperature was further increased, H/D exchange rates went over a maximum and afterwards decreased (due to full H/D exchange and/or protein denaturing). Maximal H/D exchange rate temperatures correlated neither with the disorder nor with the unsaturation of lipids. In membrane proteins, in contrast to lysozyme, the onsets of sizable H/D exchange rates were the onsets of irreversible denaturing as well. Seemingly, at temperatures where protein self-dynamics allows large-scale H/D exchange, lipid-protein coupling is so weak that proteins prefer aggregating to limit the exposure of their hydrophobic surface regions to water. In all membranes studied, dynamics seemed to be governed by lipids around the low-temperature limit, and by proteins around the high-temperature limit of membrane functionality

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: BioMed Central
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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