Transmembrane helix/lipid interactions
How are TMD / lipid interactions connected to TMD-TMD interactions and helix backbone dynamics?
The membranes of eukaryotic cells contain hundreds of different lipids which attests to the functional significance of lipid structure beyond forming lipid bilayers. We are only beginning to appreciate the multiple ways of how the different types of lipids can interact with membrane proteins and of how they shape their functional properties.
TMD/lipid interactions can compete with TMD-TMD interactions and thus regulate the assembly of oligomeric membrane protein complexes. Furthermore, the specific binding of lipids can limit the conformational dynamics of a TMD. On the other hand, TMD dynamics may affect their affinitiy to surrounding lipids which may have consequences for various biological processes, such as membrane fusion and lipid flip/flop.