Lipid Extraction by α‑Synuclein Generates Semi-Transmembrane Defects and Lipoprotein Nanoparticles
journal contributionposted on 2018-08-21, 13:03 authored by Jianjun Pan, Annalisa Dalzini, Nawal K. Khadka, Chinta M. Aryal, Likai Song
Modulations of synaptic membranes play an essential role in the physiological and pathological functions of the presynaptic protein α-synuclein (αSyn). Here we used solution atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to investigate membrane modulations caused by αSyn. We used several lipid bilayers to explore how different lipid species may regulate αSyn–membrane interactions. We found that at a protein-to-lipid ratio of ∼1/9, αSyn perturbed lipid bilayers by generating semi-transmembrane defects that only span one leaflet. In addition, αSyn coaggregates with lipid molecules to produce ∼10 nm-sized lipoprotein nanoparticles. The obtained AFM data are consistent with the apolipoprotein characteristic of αSyn. The role of anionic lipids was elucidated by comparing results from zwitterionic and anionic lipid bilayers. Specifically, our AFM measurements showed that anionic bilayers had a larger tendency of forming bilayer defects; similarly, our EPR measurements revealed that anionic bilayers exhibited more substantial changes in lipid chain mobility and bilayer polarity. We also studied the effect of cholesterol. We found that cholesterol increased the capability of αSyn in inducing bilayer defects and altering lipid chain mobility and bilayer polarity. These data can be explained by an increase in the lipid headgroup–headgroup spacing and/or specific cholesterol−αSyn interactions. Interestingly, we found an inhibitory effect of the cone-shaped phosphatidylethanolamine lipids on αSyn-induced bilayer remodeling. We explained our data by considering interlipid hydrogen-bonding that can stabilize bilayer organization and suppress lipid extraction. Our results of lipid-dependent membrane modulations are likely relevant to αSyn functioning.