Coarse-grained simulations suggest phosphoinositides and amphipathic helix structure play opposing roles in membrane curvature sensing of the AP180 N-terminal homology domain
Belessiotis-Richards A., Larsen AH., Higgins SG., Alexander-Katz A., Stevens M.
The generation and sensing of membrane curvature by proteins has become of increasing interest to researchers with multiple mechanisms, from hydrophobic insertion to protein crowding, being identified. However, the role of charged lipids in the membrane curvature sensing process is still far from understood. Many proteins involved in endocytosis bind phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) lipids, allowing these proteins to accumulate at regions of local curvature. Here, using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, we study the curvature sensing behavior of the ANTH domain, a protein crucial for endocytosis. We selected three ANTH crystal structures containing either an intact, split, or truncated terminal amphipathic helix. On neutral membranes, the ANTH domain has innate curvature sensing ability. In the presence of PIP2, however, only the domain with an intact helix senses curvature. Our work sheds light on the role of PIP2 and its modulation of membrane curvature sensing by proteins.