High-speed single-particle tracking of GM1 in model membranes reveals anomalous diffusion due to interleaflet coupling and molecular pinning.
ABSTRACT: The biological functions of the cell membrane are influenced by the mobility of its constituents, which are thought to be strongly affected by nanoscale structure and organization. Interactions with the actin cytoskeleton have been proposed as a potential mechanism with the control of mobility imparted through transmembrane "pickets" or GPI-anchored lipid nanodomains. This hypothesis is based on observations of molecular mobility using various methods, although many of these lack the spatiotemporal resolution required to fully capture all the details of the interaction dynamics. In addition, the validity of certain experimental approaches, particularly single-particle tracking, has been questioned due to a number of potential experimental artifacts. Here, we use interferometric scattering microscopy to track molecules labeled with 20-40 nm scattering gold beads with simultaneous <2 nm spatial and 20 μs temporal precision to investigate the existence and mechanistic origin of anomalous diffusion in bilayer membranes. We use supported lipid bilayers as a model system and demonstrate that the label does not influence time-dependent diffusion in the small particle limit (≤40 nm). By tracking the motion of the ganglioside lipid GM1 bound to the cholera toxin B subunit for different substrates and lipid tail properties, we show that molecular pinning and interleaflet coupling between lipid tail domains on a nanoscopic scale suffice to induce transient immobilization and thereby anomalous subdiffusion on the millisecond time scale.
Project description:There is clear evidence of an interleaflet coupling in model lipid/cholesterol membranes exhibiting liquid-liquid phase separation. The strength of this coupling is quantified by the mismatch free energy, ?. We calculate it using a molecular mean-field model of a phase-separated lipid/cholesterol bilayer and obtain values that increase as the concentration of saturated lipids in the coexisting phases is increased. These values lie in the range 0.01-0.03 k(B)T/nm(2). We clarify the relationship between the interleaflet coupling and the extent of interleaflet alignment of liquid domains by analyzing a statistical mechanical model of coupled fluctuating domain interfaces. The model is solved exactly using the correspondence between statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, yielding an expression for the characteristic size of fluctuations out of domain registry. This length scale depends only weakly on the strength of the interleaflet coupling and inevitably is only of the order of nanometers, which explains the experimental result that fluctuations out of domain registry have not been observed by optical microscopy.
Project description:Characterizing the nanoscale dynamic organization within lipid bilayer membranes is central to our understanding of cell membranes at a molecular level. We investigate phase separation and communication across leaflets in ternary lipid bilayers, including saturated lipids with between 12 and 20 carbons per tail. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations reveal a novel two-step kinetics due to hydrophobic mismatch, in which the initial response of the apposed leaflets upon quenching is to increase local asymmetry (antiregistration), followed by dominance of symmetry (registration) as the bilayer equilibrates. Antiregistration can become thermodynamically preferred if domain size is restricted below ?20 nm, with implications for the symmetry of rafts and nanoclusters in cell membranes, which have similar reported sizes. We relate our findings to theory derived from a semimicroscopic model in which the leaflets experience a "direct" area-dependent coupling, and an "indirect" coupling that arises from hydrophobic mismatch and is most important at domain boundaries. Registered phases differ in composition from antiregistered phases, consistent with a direct coupling between the leaflets. Increased hydrophobic mismatch purifies the phases, suggesting that it contributes to the molecule-level lipid immiscibility. Our results demonstrate an interplay of competing interleaflet couplings that affect phase compositions and kinetics, and lead to a length scale that can influence lateral and transverse bilayer organization within cells.
Project description:Membrane interleaflet viscosity ?e affects tether formation, phase separation into domains, cell shape changes, and budding. Contrary to the expected contribution to interleaflet coupling from interdigitation, the slide of lipid patches in opposing monolayers conferred the same value ?e?3×10(9)??J?s?m-4 for the friction experienced by the ends of both short and long chain fluorescent lipid analogues. Consistent with the weak dependence of the translational diffusion coefficient on lipid length, the in-layer viscosity was, albeit length dependent, much smaller than ?e.
Project description:Lipid membranes, enveloping all living systems, are of crucial importance, and control over their structure and composition is a highly desirable functionality of artificial structures. However, the rational design of protein-inspired systems is still challenging. Here we have developed a highly functional nucleic acid construct that self-assembles and inserts into membranes, enabling lipid transfer between inner and outer leaflets. By designing the structure to account for interactions between the DNA, its hydrophobic modifications, and the lipids, we successfully exerted control over the rate of interleaflet lipid transfer induced by our DNA-based enzyme. Furthermore, we can regulate the level of lipid transfer by altering the concentration of divalent ions, similar to stimuli-responsive lipid-flipping proteins.
Project description:Nonequilibrium simulation protocols based on shear deformations are applied to determine the surface viscosity and interleaflet friction of lipid bilayers. At high shear rates, a non-Newtonian shear thinning regime is observed, but lower shear rates yield a Newtonian plateau and results that are consistent with equilibrium measurements based on fluctuation-dissipation theorems. Application to all-atom bilayers modeled with the CHARMM36 parameter set yields values for the surface viscosity that are consistent with microscopic measurements based on membrane protein diffusion but are approximately 10 times lower than more macroscopic experimental measurements. The interleaflet friction is about 10 times lower than experimental measurements. Trends across different lipids, temperatures, and ternary liquid-disordered phase mixtures produce results that are consistent with experimental diffusion constants. Application of the protocol to the liquid-ordered phase fails to yield a Newtonian plateau, suggesting more complex rheology.
Project description:Cell membranes possess a complex three-dimensional architecture, including nonrandom lipid lateral organization within the plane of a bilayer leaflet, and compositional asymmetry between the two leaflets. As a result, delineating the membrane structure-function relationship has been a highly challenging task. Even in simplified model systems, the interactions between bilayer leaflets are poorly understood, due in part to the difficulty of preparing asymmetric model membranes that are free from the effects of residual organic solvent or osmotic stress. To address these problems, we have modified a technique for preparing asymmetric large unilamellar vesicles (aLUVs) via cyclodextrin-mediated lipid exchange in order to produce tensionless, solvent-free aLUVs suitable for a range of biophysical studies. Leaflet composition and structure were characterized using isotopic labeling strategies, which allowed us to avoid the use of bulky labels. NMR and gas chromatography provided precise quantification of the extent of lipid exchange and bilayer asymmetry, while small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) was used to resolve bilayer structural features with subnanometer resolution. Isotopically asymmetric POPC vesicles were found to have the same bilayer thickness and area per lipid as symmetric POPC vesicles, demonstrating that the modified exchange protocol preserves native bilayer structure. Partial exchange of DPPC into the outer leaflet of POPC vesicles produced chemically asymmetric vesicles with a gel/fluid phase-separated outer leaflet and a uniform, POPC-rich inner leaflet. SANS was able to separately resolve the thicknesses and areas per lipid of coexisting domains, revealing reduced lipid packing density of the outer leaflet DPPC-rich phase compared to typical gel phases. Our finding that a disordered inner leaflet can partially fluidize ordered outer leaflet domains indicates some degree of interleaflet coupling, and invites speculation on a role for bilayer asymmetry in modulating membrane lateral organization.
Project description:Organized as bilayers, phospholipids are the fundamental building blocks of cellular membranes and determine many of their biological functions. Interactions between the two leaflets of the bilayer (interleaflet coupling) have been implicated in the passage of information through membranes. However, physically, the meaning of interleaflet coupling is ill defined and lacks a structural basis. Using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of fluid phospholipid bilayers of five different lipids with differing degrees of acyl-chain asymmetry, we have examined interleaflet mixing to gain insights into coupling. Reasoning that the transbilayer distribution of terminal methyl groups is an appropriate measure of interleaflet mixing, we calculated the transbilayer distributions of the acyl chain terminal methyl groups for five lipids: dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC), palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC), stearoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine (SOPC), oleoylmyristoylphosphatidylcholine (OMPC), and dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC). We observed in all cases very strong mixing across the bilayer midplane that diminished somewhat with increasing acyl-chain ordering defined by methylene order parameters. A hallmark of the interleaflet coupling idea is complementarity, which postulates that lipids with short alkyl chains in one leaflet will preferentially associate with lipids with long alkyl chains in the other leaflet. Our results suggest a much more complicated picture for thermally disordered bilayers that we call distributed complementarity, as measured by the difference in the peak positions of the sn-1 and sn-2 methyl distributions in the same leaflet.
Project description:Interleaflet cavitation in lipid bilayer membranes, or, shortly, intramembrane cavitation (IMC), is the formation of gas bubbles between the two leaflets of the membrane. The present paper focuses on the thermodynamics of IMC, namely, on the minimum work required to form an intramembrane cavity. The minimum work can be separated into two parts, one that depends on the volume and number of gas molecules in the bubble and another that depends on the bubble geometry. Minimization of the second part at a fixed bubble volume determines the optimized bubble shape. In homogeneous cavitation this part is proportional to the bubble surface area and therefore the bubble is spherical. In contrast, in IMC the second part is no longer a simple function of the bubble area and the optimized cavity is not spherical because of the finite elasticity of the membrane. Using a simplified assumption about the cavity shape, the geometry-dependent term is derived and minimized at a fixed cavity volume. It is found that the optimized cavity is almost spherical at large bubble volumes, while at small volumes the cavity has a lenslike shape. The optimized shape is used to analyze the minimum work of IMC.
Project description:Cholesterol is a necessary component and critical regulator of liquid-ordered membrane domains. However, the structural features that determine its unique physicochemical behaviors are not fully understood. In particular, very little is known about the specific functions of the terminal aliphatic chain of cholesterol, as previous studies have focused mainly on the rigid sterol ring structure and its hydroxyl head. In the current work, we used coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the effect of cholesterol aliphatic chain length on the dynamics and structure of coexisting lipid domains. We found that the aliphatic chain has no appreciable effect on phase separation per se, but it significantly affects the rate of cholesterol flip-flop and intermonolayer interaction. These effects are accompanied by changes in domain dynamics, lateral pressure, and interleaflet coupling. Our study provides useful insight into how biological sterols modulate communication between the outer and inner surfaces of the plasma membrane and, therefore, cellular signaling.
Project description:Phagocytic receptors must diffuse laterally to become activated upon clustering by multivalent targets. Receptor diffusion, however, can be obstructed by transmembrane proteins ("pickets") that are immobilized by interacting with the cortical cytoskeleton. The molecular identity of these pickets and their role in phagocytosis have not been defined. We used single-molecule tracking to study the interaction between Fc? receptors and CD44, an abundant transmembrane protein capable of indirect association with F-actin, hence likely to serve as a picket. CD44 tethers reversibly to formin-induced actin filaments, curtailing receptor diffusion. Such linear filaments predominate in the trailing end of polarized macrophages, where receptor mobility was minimal. Conversely, receptors were most mobile at the leading edge, where Arp2/3-driven actin branching predominates. CD44 binds hyaluronan, anchoring a pericellular coat that also limits receptor displacement and obstructs access to phagocytic targets. Force must be applied to traverse the pericellular barrier, enabling receptors to engage their targets.