MemProtMD: Automated Insertion of Membrane Protein Structures into Explicit Lipid Membranes.
ABSTRACT: There has been exponential growth in the number of membrane protein structures determined. Nevertheless, these structures are usually resolved in the absence of their lipid environment. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) simulations enable insertion of membrane proteins into explicit models of lipid bilayers. We have automated the CGMD methodology, enabling membrane protein structures to be identified upon their release into the PDB and embedded into a membrane. The simulations are analyzed for protein-lipid interactions, identifying lipid binding sites, and revealing local bilayer deformations plus molecular access pathways within the membrane. The coarse-grained models of membrane protein/bilayer complexes are transformed to atomistic resolution for further analysis and simulation. Using this automated simulation pipeline, we have analyzed a number of recently determined membrane protein structures to predict their locations within a membrane, their lipid/protein interactions, and the functional implications of an enhanced understanding of the local membrane environment of each protein.
Project description:Advances in coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) simulations have extended the use of computational studies on biological macromolecules and their complexes, as well as the interactions of membrane protein and lipid complexes at a reduced level of representation, allowing longer and larger molecular dynamics simulations. Here, we present a computational platform dedicated to the preparation, running, and analysis of CGMD simulations. The platform is built on a completely revisited version of our <i>Martini coarsE gRained MembrAne proteIn Dynamics</i> (MERMAID) web server, and it integrates this with other three dedicated services. In its current version, the platform expands the existing implementation of the Martini force field for membrane proteins to also allow the simulation of soluble proteins using the Martini and the SIRAH force fields. Moreover, it offers an automated protocol for carrying out the backmapping of the coarse-grained description of the system into an atomistic one.
Project description:The interactions of transmembrane (TM) ?-helices with the phospholipid membrane and with one another are central to understanding the structure and stability of integral membrane proteins. These interactions may be analyzed via coarse grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) simulations. To obtain statistically meaningful analysis of TM helix interactions, large (N ca. 100) ensembles of CGMD simulations are needed. To facilitate the running and analysis of such ensembles of simulations, we have developed Sidekick, an automated pipeline software for performing high throughput CGMD simulations of ?-helical peptides in lipid bilayer membranes. Through an end-to-end approach, which takes as input a helix sequence and outputs analytical metrics derived from CGMD simulations, we are able to predict the orientation and likelihood of insertion into a lipid bilayer of a given helix of a family of helix sequences. We illustrate this software via analyses of insertion into a membrane of short hydrophobic TM helices containing a single cationic arginine residue positioned at different positions along the length of the helix. From analyses of these ensembles of simulations, we estimate apparent energy barriers to insertion which are comparable to experimentally determined values. In a second application, we use CGMD simulations to examine the self-assembly of dimers of TM helices from the ErbB1 receptor tyrosine kinase and analyze the numbers of simulation repeats necessary to obtain convergence of simple descriptors of the mode of packing of the two helices within a dimer. Our approach offers a proof-of-principle platform for the further employment of automation in large ensemble CGMD simulations of membrane proteins.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins are regulated by specific interactions with lipids from the surrounding bilayer. The structures of protein-lipid complexes can be determined through a combination of experimental and computational approaches, but the energetic basis of these interactions is difficult to resolve. Molecular dynamics simulations provide the primary computational technique to estimate the free energies of these interactions. We demonstrate that the energetics of protein-lipid interactions may be reliably and reproducibly calculated using three simulation-based approaches: potential of mean force calculations, alchemical free energy perturbation, and well-tempered metadynamics. We employ these techniques within the framework of a coarse-grained force field and apply them to both bacterial and mammalian membrane protein-lipid systems. We demonstrate good agreement between the different techniques, providing a robust framework for their automated implementation within a pipeline for annotation of newly determined membrane protein structures.
Project description:Lamellar and hexagonal lipid structures are of particular importance in the biological processes such as membrane fusion and budding. Atomistic simulations of formation of these phases and transitions between them are computationally prohibitive, hence development of coarse-grained models is an important part of the methodological development in this area. Here we apply systematic bottom-up coarse-graining to model different phase structures formed by 1,2-dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) lipid molecules. We started from atomistic simulations of DOPE lipids in water carried out at two different water/lipid molar ratio corresponding to the lamellar L? and inverted hexagonal HII structures at low and high lipid concentrations respectively. The atomistic trajectories were mapped to coarse-grained trajectories, in which each lipid was represented by 14 coarse-grained sites. Then the inverse Monte Carlo method was used to compute the effective coarse-grained potentials which for the coarse-grain model reproduce the same structural properties as the atomistic simulations. The potentials derived from the low concentration atomistic simulation were only able to form a bilayer structure, while both L? and HII lipid phases were formed in simulations with potentials obtained at high concentration. The typical atomistic configurations of lipids at high concentration combine fragments of both lamellar and non-lamellar structures, that is reflected in the extracted coarse-grained potentials which become transferable and can form a wide range of structures including the inverted hexagonal, bilayer, tubule, vesicle and micellar structures.
Project description:Tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) provide a stable platform for modeling the dynamics and order of biological membranes where the tethers mimic the cytoskeletal supports present in biological cell membranes. In this paper coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) is applied to study the effects of tethers on lipid membrane properties. Using results from the CGMD model and the overdamped Fokker-Planck equation, we show that the diffusion tensor and particle density of water in the tBLM is spatially dependent. Further, it is shown that the membrane thickness, lipid diffusion, defect density, free energy of lipid flip-flop, and membrane dielectric permittivity are all dependent on the tether density. The numerically computed results from the CGMD model are in agreement with the experimentally measured results from tBLMs containing different tether densities and lipids derived from Archaebacteria. Additionally, using experimental measurements from Escherichia coli bacteria and Saccharomyces Cerevisiae yeast tethered membranes, we illustrate how previous molecular dynamics results can be combined with the proposed model to estimate the dielectric permittivity and defect density of these membranes as a function of tether density.
Project description:Interactions of lipids are central to the folding and stability of membrane proteins. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations have been used to reveal the mechanisms of self-assembly of protein/membrane and protein/detergent complexes for representatives of two classes of membrane protein, namely, glycophorin (a simple alpha-helical bundle) and OmpA (a beta-barrel). The accuracy of the coarse-grained simulations is established via comparison with the equivalent atomistic simulations of self-assembly of protein/detergent micelles. The simulation of OmpA/bilayer self-assembly reveals how a folded outer membrane protein can be inserted in a bilayer. The glycophorin/bilayer simulation supports the two-state model of membrane folding, in which transmembrane helix insertion precedes dimer self-assembly within a bilayer. The simulations also suggest that a dynamic equilibrium exists between the glycophorin helix monomer and dimer within a bilayer. The simulated glycophorin helix dimer is remarkably close in structure to that revealed by NMR. Thus, coarse-grained methods may help to define mechanisms of membrane protein (re)folding and will prove suitable for simulation of larger scale dynamic rearrangements of biological membranes.
Project description:Phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PIP(2)) is an activator of mammalian inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channels. Multiscale simulations, via a sequential combination of coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics, enabled exploration of the interactions of PIP(2) molecules within the inner leaflet of a lipid bilayer membrane with possible binding sites on Kir channels. Three Kir channel structures were investigated: X-ray structures of KirBac1.1 and of a Kir3.1-KirBac1.3 chimera and a homology model of Kir6.2. Coarse-grained simulations of the Kir channels in PIP(2)-containing lipid bilayers identified the PIP(2)-binding site on each channel. These models of the PIP(2)-channel complexes were refined by conversion to an atomistic representation followed by molecular dynamics simulation in a lipid bilayer. All three channels were revealed to contain a conserved binding site at the N-terminal end of the slide (M0) helix, at the interface between adjacent subunits of the channel. This binding site agrees with mutagenesis data and is in the proximity of the site occupied by a detergent molecule in the Kir chimera channel crystal. Polar contacts in the coarse-grained simulations corresponded to long-lived electrostatic and H-bonding interactions between the channel and PIP(2) in the atomistic simulations, enabling identification of key side chains.
Project description:The interaction of ?-helical peptides with lipid bilayers is central to our understanding of the physicochemical principles of biological membrane organization and stability. Mutations that alter the position or orientation of an ?-helix within a membrane, or that change the probability that the ?-helix will insert into the membrane, can alter a range of membrane protein functions. We describe a comparative coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation methodology, based on self-assembly of a lipid bilayer in the presence of an ?-helical peptide, which allows us to model membrane transmembrane helix insertion. We validate this methodology against available experimental data for synthetic model peptides (WALP23 and LS3). Simulation-based estimates of apparent free energies of insertion into a bilayer of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived helices correlate well with published data for translocon-mediated insertion. Comparison of values of the apparent free energy of insertion from self-assembly simulations with those from coarse-grained molecular dynamics potentials of mean force for model peptides, and with translocon-mediated insertion of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived peptides suggests a nonequilibrium model of helix insertion into bilayers.
Project description:The dengue virion is surrounded by an envelope of membrane proteins surrounding a lipid bilayer. We have combined the cryoelectron microscopy structures of the membrane proteins (PDB: 3J27) with a lipid bilayer whose composition is based on lipidomics data for insect cell membranes, to obtain a near-atomic resolution computational model of the envelope of the dengue virion. A coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation on the microsecond timescale enables analysis of key biophysical properties of the dengue outer envelope. Properties analyzed include area per lipid values (for a spherical virion with a mixed lipid composition), bilayer thickness, and lipid diffusion coefficients. Despite the absence of cholesterol from the lipid bilayer, the virion exhibits biophysical robustness (slow lipid diffusion alongside stable bilayer thickness, virion diameter, and shape) that matches the cholesterol-rich membrane of influenza A, with similarly anomalous diffusion of lipids. Biophysical robustness of the envelope may confer resilience to environmental perturbations.
Project description:Detailed atomistic computer simulations are now widely used to study biological membranes, including increasingly mixed lipid systems that involve, for example, cholesterol, which is a key membrane lipid. Typically, simulations of these systems start from a preassembled bilayer because the timescale on which self-assembly occurs in mixed lipid systems is beyond the practical abilities of fully atomistic simulations. To overcome this limitation and study bilayer self-assembly, coarse-grained models have been developed. Although there are several coarse-grained models for cholesterol reported in the literature, these generally fail to account explicitly for the unique molecular features of cholesterol that relate to its function and role as a membrane lipid. In this work, we propose a new coarse-grained model for cholesterol that retains the molecule's unique features and, as a result, can be used to study crystalline structures of cholesterol. In the development of the model, two levels of coarse-graining are explored and the importance of retaining key molecular features in the coarse-grained model that are relevant to structural properties is investigated.