Position-resolved free energy of solvation for amino acids in lipid membranes from molecular dynamics simulations.
ABSTRACT Studies of insertion and interactions of amino acids in lipid membranes are pivotal to our understanding of membrane protein structure and function. Calculating the insertion cost as a function of transmembrane helix sequence is thus an important step towards improved membrane protein prediction and eventually drug design. Here, we present position-dependent free energies of solvation for all amino acid analogs along the membrane normal. The profiles cover the entire region from bulk water to hydrophobic core, and were produced from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. Experimental differences corresponding to mutations and costs for entire segments match experimental data well, and in addition the profiles provide the spatial resolution currently not available from experiments. Polar side-chains largely maintain their hydration and assume quite ordered conformations, which indicates the solvation cost is mainly entropic. The cost of solvating charged side-chains is not only significantly lower than for implicit solvation models, but also close to experiments, meaning these could well maintain their protonation states inside the membrane. The single notable exception to the experimental agreement is proline, which is quite expensive to introduce in vivo despite its hydrophobicity--a difference possibly explained by kinks making it harder to insert helices in the translocon.
Article: Protein contents in biological membranes can explain abnormal solvation of charged and polar residues.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Transmembrane helices are generally believed to insert into membranes based on their hydrophobicity. Nevertheless, there are important exceptions where polar residues have great functional importance, for instance the S4 helix of voltage-gated ion channels. It has been shown experimentally that insertion can be accomplished by hydrophobic counterbalance, predicting an arginine insertion cost of only 2.5 kcal/mol, compared with 14.9 kcal/mol in cyclohexane. Previous simulations of pure bilayers have produced values close to the pure hydrocarbon, which has lead to spirited discussion about the experimental conditions. Here, we have performed computer simulations of models better mimicking biological membranes by explicitly including protein helices at mass fractions from 15% to 55%, as well as an actual translocon. This has a striking effect on the solvation free energy of arginine. With some polar residues present, the solvation cost comes close to experimental observation at approximately 30% mass fraction, and negligible at 40%. In the presence of a translocon in the membrane, the cost of inserting arginine next to the lateral gate can be as low as 3-5 kcal/mol. The effect is mainly due to the extra helices making it easier to retain hydration water. These results offer a possible explanation for the discrepancy between the in vivo hydrophobicity scale and computer simulations and highlight the importance of the high protein contents in membranes. Although many membrane proteins are stable in pure bilayers, such simplified models might not be sufficiently accurate for insertion of polar or charged residues in biological membranes.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2009; 106(37):15684-9. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2011; 108(17):6838-6842. · 9.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Here, we review potential determinants of the anticancer efficacy of innate immune peptides (ACPs) for cancer cells. These determinants include membrane-based factors, such as receptors, phosphatidylserine, sialic acid residues, and sulfated glycans, and peptide-based factors, such as residue composition, sequence length, net charge, hydrophobic arc size, hydrophobicity, and amphiphilicity. Each of these factors may contribute to the anticancer action of ACPs, but no single factor(s) makes an overriding contribution to their overall selectivity and toxicity. Differences between the anticancer actions of ACPs seem to relate to different levels of interplay between these peptide and membrane-based factors. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Med Res Rev.Medicinal Research Reviews 09/2011; · 10.70 Impact Factor