Membrane Curvature and Lipid Composition Synergize To Regulate N-Ras Anchor Recruitment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2017Researchpeer-review



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Proteins anchored to membranes through covalently linked fatty acids and/or isoprenoid groups play crucial roles in all forms of life. Sorting and trafficking of lipidated proteins has traditionally been discussed in the context of partitioning to membrane domains of different lipid composition. We recently showed that membrane shape/curvature can in itself mediate the recruitment of lipidated proteins. However, exactly how membrane curvature and composition synergize remains largely unexplored. Here we investigated how three critical structural parameters of lipids, namely acyl chain saturation, headgroup size, and acyl chain length, modulate the capacity of membrane curvature to recruit lipidated proteins. As a model system we used the lipidated minimal membrane anchor of the GTPase, N-Ras (tN-Ras). Our data revealed complex synergistic effects, whereby tN-Ras binding was higher on planar DOPC than POPC membranes, but inversely higher on curved POPC than DOPC membranes. This variation in the binding to both planar and curved membranes leads to a net increase in the recruitment by membrane curvature of tN-Ras when reducing the acyl chain saturation state. Additionally, we found increased recruitment by membrane curvature of tN-Ras when substituting PC for PE, and when decreasing acyl chain length from 14 to 12 carbons (DMPC versus DLPC). However, these variations in recruitment ability had different origins, with the headgroup size primarily influencing tN-Ras binding to planar membranes whereas the change in acyl chain length primarily affected binding to curved membranes. Molecular field theory calculations recapitulated these findings and revealed lateral pressure as an underlying biophysical mechanism dictating how curvature and composition synergize to modulate recruitment of lipidated proteins. Our findings suggest that the different compositions of cellular compartments could modulate the potency of membrane curvature to recruit lipidated proteins and thereby synergistically regulate the trafficking and sorting of lipidated proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1269-1279
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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