Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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Open Access

Membrane composition-mediated protein-protein interactions

  • Benedict J. Reynwar1 and
  • Markus Deserno2

Received: 12 March 2008

Accepted: 7 January 2009


The authors investigate membrane composition-mediated interactions between proteins adsorbed onto a two-component lipid bilayer close to critical demixing using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations and a phenomenological Ginzburg-Landau theory. The simulations consist of three-bead lipids and platelike proteins, which adsorb onto the membrane by binding preferentially to one of the two lipid species. The composition profile around one protein and the pair correlation function between two proteins are measured and compared to the analytical predictions. The theoretical framework is applicable to any scalar field embedded in the membrane, and although in this work the authors treat flat membranes, the methodology extends readily to curved geometries. Neglecting fluctuations, both lipid composition profile and induced protein pair potential are predicted to follow a zeroth order modified Bessel function of the second kind with the same characteristic decay length. These predictions are consistent with our molecular dynamics simulations, except that the interaction range is found to be larger than the single profile correlation length.