Molecular simulations of lipid-mediated protein-protein interactions 

F. J. M. de Meyer, M. Venturoli, and B. Smit, Molecular simulations of lipid-mediated protein-protein interactions Biophys. J. 95 (4), 1851 (2008)

Recent experimental results revealed that lipid-mediated interactions due to hydrophobic forces may be important in determining the protein topology after insertion in the membrane, in regulating the protein activity, in protein aggregation and in signal transduction. To gain insight into the lipid-mediated interactions between two intrinsic membrane proteins, we developed a mesoscopic model of a lipid bilayer with embedded proteins, which we studied with dissipative particle dynamics. Our calculations of the potential of mean force between transmembrane proteins show that hydrophobic forces drive long-range protein-protein interactions and that the nature of these interactions depends on the length of the protein hydrophobic segment, on the three-dimensional structure of the protein and on the properties of the lipid bilayer. To understand the nature of the computed potentials of mean force, the concept of hydrophilic shielding is introduced. The observed protein interactions are interpreted as resulting from the dynamic reorganization of the system to maintain an optimal hydrophilic shielding of the protein and lipid hydrophobic parts, within the constraint of the flexibility of the components. Our results could lead to a better understanding of several membrane processes in which protein interactions are involved.

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© Berend Smit 2019