3 years ago

Folding and lipid composition determine membrane interaction of the disordered protein COR15A

Carlos Navarro-Retamal, Wendy González, Dirk K. Hincha, Anja Thalhammer, Anne Bremer, Helgi I. Ingólfsson, Julio Caballero, Jans Alzate-Morales


Plants from temperate climates, such as the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, are challenged with seasonal low temperatures that lead to increased freezing tolerance in fall in a process termed cold acclimation. Among other adaptations, this involves the accumulation of COld Regulated (COR) proteins, such as the intrinsically disordered chloroplast-localized protein COR15A. Together with its close homologue COR15B it stabilizes chloroplast membranes during freezing. COR15A folds into amphipathic α-helices in the presence of high concentrations of low-molecular-mass crowders or upon dehydration. Under these conditions the (partially) folded protein binds peripherally to membranes. In the present study we have used coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the details of COR15A-membrane binding and its effects on membrane structure and dynamics. Simulation results indicate that at least partial folding of COR15A and the presence of highly unsaturated galactolipids in the membranes are necessary for efficient membrane binding. The bound protein is stabilized on the membrane by interactions of charged and polar amino acids with galactolipid headgroups and by interactions of hydrophobic amino acids with the upper part of the fatty acyl chains. Experimentally, the presence of liposomes made from a mixture of lipids mimicking chloroplast membranes induces additional folding in COR15A under conditions of partial dehydration, in agreement with the simulation results.

Publisher URL: https://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(18)30966-4

DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2018.08.014

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