Research ArticleBIOPHYSICS

Multiple lipid binding sites determine the affinity of PH domains for phosphoinositide-containing membranes

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  19 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 8, eaay5736
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay5736


Association of peripheral proteins with lipid bilayers regulates membrane signaling and dynamics. Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains bind to phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) molecules in membranes. The effects of local PIP enrichment on the interaction of PH domains with membranes is unclear. Molecular dynamics simulations allow estimation of the binding energy of GRP1 PH domain to PIP3-containing membranes. The free energy of interaction of the PH domain with more than two PIP3 molecules is comparable to experimental values, suggesting that PH domain binding involves local clustering of PIP molecules within membranes. We describe a mechanism of PH binding proceeding via an encounter state to two bound states which differ in the orientation of the protein relative to the membrane, these orientations depending on the local PIP concentration. These results suggest that nanoscale clustering of PIP molecules can control the strength and orientation of PH domain interaction in a concentration-dependent manner.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances