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  • 1.
    Elias-Wolff, Federico
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Lindén, Martin
    Lyubartsev, Alexander P.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Brandt, Erik G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Curvature sensing by cardiolipin in simulated buckled membranes2019In: Soft Matter, ISSN 1744-683X, E-ISSN 1744-6848, Vol. 15, no 4, p. 792-802Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Cardiolipin is a non-bilayer phospholipid with a unique dimeric structure. It localizes to negative curvature regions in bacteria and is believed to stabilize respiratory chain complexes in the highly curved mitochondrial membrane. Cardiolipin's localization mechanism remains unresolved, because important aspects such as the structural basis and strength for lipid curvature preferences are difficult to determine, partly due to the lack of efficient simulation methods. Here, we report a computational approach to study curvature preferences of cardiolipin by simulated membrane buckling and quantitative modeling. We combine coarse-grained molecular dynamics with simulated buckling to determine the curvature preferences in three-component bilayer membranes with varying concentrations of cardiolipin, and extract curvature-dependent concentrations and lipid acyl chain order parameter profiles. Cardiolipin shows a strong preference for negative curvatures, with a highly asymmetric chain order parameter profile. The concentration profiles are consistent with an elastic model for lipid curvature sensing that relates lipid segregation to local curvature via the material constants of the bilayers. These computations constitute new steps to unravel the molecular mechanism by which cardiolipin senses curvature in lipid membranes, and the method can be generalized to other lipids and membrane components as well.

  • 2.
    Elías-Wolff, Federico
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    A computational approach to curvature sensing in lipid bilayers2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Local curvature is a key driving force for spatial organization of cellular membranes, via a phenomenon known as membrane curvature sensing, where the binding energy of membrane associated macromolecules depends on the local membrane shape. However, the microscopic mechanisms of curvature sensing are not well understood. Molecular dynamics simulations offer a powerful complement to biochemical experiments, yet their contribution to the study of curvature sensing has been limited, due in part to the lack of efficient methods, not least because of methodological difficulties in dealing with curved membranes. We develop a method based on simulated buckling, which has been previously employed to study mechanical properties of membranes. Here, we describe, validate and evaluate this method. We then apply to study curvature sensing properties of three model systems, using coarse-grained simulations. On the first system, we study lipid sorting in a three-component lipid mixture with emphasis on cardiolipin. We find that if curvature is high, curvature sensing is strong enough to drive cardiolipin molecules to negative curvature regions, outcompeting other lipids, without the need of external interactions or cooperative effects. We then simulated three systems consisting of a short amphipathic peptide attached to the surface of a buckled membrane. All three peptides localize to positive curvature, in agreement with the so-called cylindrical hydrophobic insertion mechanism. Their orientational preferences, however, defy the prediction of alignment perpendicular to the direction of maximum curvature. They also fail to show expected symmetries, indicating there is more to the picture than purely shape-based effects. The curvature sensing probe of the next system is a transmembrane trimeric protein, which shows preference to intermediate curvature, in agreement with theoretical predictions. But the lack of an expected 2-fold rotation symmetry indicates that the trimer senses the local curvature gradient, and not just the point-wise local curvature. Finally, dispensing with the buckling methodology, we simulated a series of symmetric transmembrane multimers embedded in cylindrical bilayers. Based on the results of these simulations and theoretical arguments, we discuss the relationship between structural symmetry and curvature sensitivity. We conclude that anisotropic (i.e. orientation-dependent) curvature sensing is strongly limited by odd and high order rotational symmetries. However, measurements of in-plane orientation on peptides and asymmetric proteins, as well as dimers and tetramers, should yield valuable information. Our method, along with our initial conclusions, provides an useful tool for the understanding of the relationship between membrane shape and membrane protein function, and should prove useful to biophysicists in the design and interpretation of experimental curvature sensing assays.

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  • 3.
    Elías-Wolff, Federico
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Lindén, Martin
    Lyubartsev, Alexander P.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Brandt, Erik G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Computing Curvature Sensitivity of Biomolecules in Membranes by Simulated Buckling2018In: Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, ISSN 1549-9618, E-ISSN 1549-9626, Vol. 14, no 3, p. 1643-1655Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Membrane curvature sensing, where the binding free energies of membrane-associated molecules depend on the local membrane curvature, is a key factor to modulate and maintain the shape and organization of cell membranes. However, the microscopic mechanisms are not well understood, partly due to absence of efficient simulation methods. Here, we describe a method to compute the curvature dependence of the binding free energy of a membrane associated probe molecule that interacts with a buckled membrane, which has been created by lateral compression of a flat bilayer patch. This buckling approach samples a wide range of curvatures in a single simulation, and anisotropic effects can be extracted from the orientation statistics. We develop an efficient and robust algorithm to extract the motion of the probe along the buckled membrane surface, and evaluate its numerical properties by extensive sampling of three coarse-grained model systems: local lipid density in a curved environment for single-component bilayers, curvature preferences of individual lipids in two-component membranes, and curvature sensing by a homotrimeric transmembrane protein. The method can be used to complement experimental data from curvature partition assays and provides additional insight into mesoscopic theories and molecular mechanisms for curvature sensing.

  • 4.
    Elías-Wolff, Federico
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Lindén, Martin
    Lyubartsev, Alexander P.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Brandt, Erik G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Curvature sensing by cardiolipin in simulated buckled membranesIn: Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Gómez-Llobregat, Jordi
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Elías-Wolff, Federico
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Lindén, Martin
    Anisotropic Membrane Curvature Sensing by Amphipathic Peptides2016In: Biophysical Journal, ISSN 0006-3495, E-ISSN 1542-0086, Vol. 110, no 1, p. 197-204Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many proteins and peptides have an intrinsic capacity to sense and induce membrane curvature, and play crucial roles for organizing and remodeling cell membranes. However, the molecular driving forces behind these processes are not well understood. Here, we describe an approach to study curvature sensing by simulating the interactions of single molecules with a buckled lipid bilayer. We analyze three amphipathic antimicrobial peptides, a class of membrane-associated molecules that specifically target and destabilize bacterial membranes, and find qualitatively different sensing characteristics that would be difficult to resolve with other methods. Our findings provide evidence for direction-dependent curvature sensing mechanisms in amphipathic peptides and challenge existing theories of hydrophobic insertion. The buckling approach is generally applicable to a wide range of curvature-sensing molecules, and our results provide strong motivation to develop new experimental methods to track position and orientation of membrane proteins.

  • 6. Lindén, Martin
    et al.
    Elías-Wolff, Federico
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Lyubartsev, Alexander P.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Brandt, Erik G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK).
    Curvature sensing by multimeric proteinsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
1 - 6 of 6
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