The concepts of hydrophobicity and hydrophobic moments have been applied in attempts to predict membrane protein secondary and tertiary structure. The current paper uses molecular dynamics computer calculations of individual bacteriorhodopsin helices in explicit dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers to examine the atomic basis of these approaches. The results suggest that the types of interactions between a particular amino acid and the surrounding bilayer depend on the position and type of the amino acid. In particular, aromatic residues are seen to interact favorably at the interface region. Analysis of the trajectories in terms of hydrophobic moments suggests the presence of a particular face that prefers lipid. The results of these simulations may be used to improve secondary structure prediction methods and to provide further insights into the two-stage model of protein folding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas