Transmembrane helix backbone dynamics
How does primary structure define TMD backbone dynamics?
If the structural vibrations within a TMD helix – its dynamics – depends on primary structure, then it is subject to evolutionary fine-tuning and can thus be of functional relevance. Studying TMD helix dynamics using experimental hydrogen/deuterium exchange in combination with Molecular Dynamics simulation showed that the packing density around amino acid side chains is the main determinant of backbone dynamics.
Ongoing studies are directed at elucidating the relationship between primary structure and dynamics at a greater detail.
At the same time, we seek to clarify the role of TMD helix dynamics in various biological processes, like membrane fusion, lipid flip/flop, and intramembrane proteolysis.