Role of sterol type on lateral pressure profiles of lipid membranes affecting membrane protein functionality : comparison between cholesterol, desmosterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol and ketosterol

O.H.S. Ollila, T. Róg, M.E.J. Karttunen, I. Vattulainen

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    95 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Lateral pressure profiles have been suggested to play a significant role in many cellular membrane processes by affecting, for example, the activation of membrane proteins through changes in their conformational state. This may be the case if the lateral pressure profile is altered due to changes in molecular composition surrounding the protein. In this work, we elucidate the effect of varying sterol type on the lateral pressure profile, an issue of topical interest due to lipid rafts and their putative role for membrane protein functionality. We find that the lateral pressure profile is altered when cholesterol is replaced by either desmosterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol, or ketosterol. The observed changes in the lateral pressure profile are notable and important since desmosterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol are the immediate precursors of cholesterol along its biosynthetic pathway. The results show that the lateral pressure profile and the resulting elastic behavior of lipid membranes are sensitive to the sterol type, and support a mechanism where changes in protein conformational state are facilitated by changes in the lateral pressure profile. From a structural point of view, the results provide compelling evidence that despite seemingly minor differences, sterols are characterized by structural specificity. Keywords: Lateral pressure profile; Lipid membrane; Lipid raft; Sterol; Molecular dynamics simulation
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-323
    JournalJournal of Structural Biology
    Volume159
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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