A helix heterodimer in a lipid bilayer: prediction of the structure of an integrin transmembrane domain via multiscale simulations.
Kalli AC., Hall BA., Campbell ID., Sansom MS.
Dimerization of transmembrane (TM) α helices of membrane receptors plays a key role in signaling. We show that molecular dynamics simulations yield models of integrin TM helix heterodimers, which agree well with available NMR structures. We use a multiscale simulation approach, combining coarse-grained and subsequent atomistic simulation, to model the dimerization of wild-type (WT) and mutated sequences of the αIIb and β3 integrin TM helices. The WT helices formed a stable, right-handed dimer with the same helix-helix interface as in the published NMR structure (PDB: 2K9J). In contrast, the presence of disruptive mutations perturbed the interface between the helices, altering the conformational stability of the dimer. The αIIb/β3 interface was more flexible than that of, e.g., glycophorin A. This is suggestive of a role for alternative packing modes of the TM helices in transbilayer signaling.