Prediction of Thylakoid Lipid Binding Sites on Photosystem II

Floris J. Van Eerden, Manuel N. Melo, Pim W.J.M. Frederix, Siewert J. Marrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The thylakoid membrane has a unique lipid composition, consisting mostly of galactolipids. These thylakoid lipids have important roles in photosynthesis. Here, we investigate to what extent these lipids bind specifically to the Photosystem II complex. To this end, we performed coarse-grain MD simulations of the Photosystem II complex embedded in a thylakoid membrane with realistic composition. Based on >85 μs simulation time, we find that monogalactosyldiacylglycerol and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol lipids are enriched in the annular shell around the protein, and form distinct binding sites. From the analysis of residue contacts, we conclude that electrostatic interactions play an important role in stabilizing these binding sites. Furthermore, we find that chlorophyll a has a prevalent role in the coordination of the lipids. In addition, we observe lipids to diffuse in and out of the plastoquinone exchange cavities, allowing exchange of cocrystallized lipids with the bulk membrane and suggesting a more open nature of the plastoquinone exchange cavity. Together, our data provide a wealth of information on protein-lipid interactions for a key protein in photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2681
Number of pages13
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017


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