Membrane curvature allosterically regulates the phosphatidylinositol cycle, controlling its rate and acyl-chain composition of its lipid intermediates Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Signaling events at membranes are often mediated by membrane lipid composition or membrane physical properties. These membrane properties could act either by favoring the membrane binding of downstream effectors or by modulating their activity. Several proteins can sense/generate membrane physical curvature (i.e. shape). However, the modulation of the activity of enzymes by a membrane's shape has not yet been reported. Here, using a cell-free assay with purified diacylglycerol kinase ϵ (DGKϵ) and liposomes, we studied the activity and acyl-chain specificity of an enzyme of the phosphatidylinositol (PI) cycle, DGKϵ. By systematically varying the model membrane lipid composition and physical properties, we found that DGKϵ has low activity and lacks acyl-chain specificity in locally flat membranes, regardless of the lipid composition. On the other hand, these enzyme properties were greatly enhanced in membrane structures with a negative Gaussian curvature. We also found that this is not a consequence of preferential binding of the enzyme to those structures, but rather is due to a curvature-mediated allosteric regulation of DGKϵ activity and acyl-chain specificity. Moreover, in a fine-tuned interplay between the enzyme and the membrane, DGKϵ favored the formation of structures with greater Gaussian curvature. DGKϵ does not bear a regulatory domain, and these findings reveal the importance of membrane curvature in regulating DGKϵ activity and acyl-chain specificity. Hence, this study highlights that a hierarchic coupling of membrane physical property and lipid composition synergistically regulates membrane signaling events. We propose that this regulatory mechanism of membrane-associated enzyme activity is likely more common than is currently appreciated.


  • Bozelli, José Carlos
  • Jennings, William
  • Black, Stephanie
  • Hou, Yu Heng
  • Lameire, Darius
  • Chatha, Preet
  • Kimura, Tomohiro
  • Berno, Bob
  • Khondker, Adree
  • Rheinstadter, Maikel
  • Epand, Richard M

publication date

  • November 2018

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