Lateral sorting in model membranes by cholesterol-mediated hydrophobic matching

Hermann Josef Kaiser, Adam Orłowski, Tomasz Róg, Thomas K.M. Nyholm, Wengang Chai, Ten Feizi, Daniel Lingwood, Ilpo Vattulainen, Kai Simons*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Theoretical studies predict hydrophobic matching between transmembrane domains of proteins and bilayer lipids to be a physical mechanism by which membranes laterally self-organize. We now experimentally study the direct consequences of mismatching of transmembrane peptides of different length with bilayers of different thicknesses at the molecular level. In both model membranes and simulations we show that cholesterol critically constrains structural adaptations at the peptide-lipid interface under mismatch. These constraints translate into a sorting potential and lead to selective lateral segregation of peptides and lipids according to their hydrophobic length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16628-16633
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Annular lipid
  • Mattress model
  • Membrane domain
  • Protein-lipid interaction
  • Self-assembly

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