The role of lipid environment in a dimer formation of glycophorin A

Kuznetsov A.S., Efremov R.G.

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Myasnitskaya Str., 20, Moscow, 101000, Russia M.M. Shemyakin and Yu.A. Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry RAS, Miklukho-Maklaya Str., 16/10, Moscow, GSP-7, 117997, Russia, +7(495)330-58-74,

Transmembrane α-helical domains are common structural elements in membrane proteins structure. They are involved into functioning of receptors and ion channels. Protein-protein interactions in lipid environment underlie the function of the most membrane systems. The properties of lipid environment can modulate the activity of membrane proteins, such as receptor tyrosine kinases [1]. Glycophorin A is a glycoprotein that forms a very stable dimer. Its transmembrane domain is known as a good model system to study dimerization of α-helices. The major mechanism of the disturbance of a dimer by point mutations is thought to be a change of protein-protein contacts, but the role of the membrane is not well understood. In present work we study the behavior of transmembrane segment of human glycophorin A and two mutant forms G83A and T87V using molecular dynamics simulations in lipid environment. The free energy of dimerization has been estimated and the analysis of lipid properties was done. We propose different mechanisms for each mutation: T87V strongly changes protein-protein contacts. For G83A we demonstrate with the decomposition approach the major contribution of non-favorable protein-lipid contacts coupled with the redistribution interfacial protein-protein interactions [2]. For monomers and dimers of all three forms of glycophorin A we found lipid binding sites near the interface of dimerization in the hydrophobic region of the bilayer. Surprisingly, in the case of monomers lipid acyl chains bind to the interfacial residues. Thus, the membrane plays an active role in dimer formation.

This work was funded by Project «5-100» of governmental support of the universities in Russian Federation.


1. Bocharov E.V., et. al. Helix-helix interactions in membrane domains of bitopic proteins: Specificity and role of lipid environment // Biochim. Biophys. Acta, Vol. 1859, No 4, Year 2017. Pp. 561-576.

2. Kuznetsov A.S., Volynsky P.E., Efremov R.G. Role of the Lipid Environment in the Dimerization of Transmembrane Domains of Glycophorin A. // Acta Naturae, Vol. 7, No. 4, Year 2015. Pp. 122-127.

© 2004 Designed by Lyceum of Informational Technologies №1533