The dependence of the lateral distribution of membrane proteins on the size, protein/lipoid molar ratio, and the magnitude of the interaction potentials has been investigated by computer modeling protein-lipid distributions with Monte Carlo calculations. These results have allowed us to develop a quantitative characterization of the distribution of membrane proteins and to correlate these distributions with experimental observables. The topological arrangement of protein domains, protein plus annular lipid domains, and free lipid domains is described in terms of radial distribution, pair connectedness, and cluster distribution functions. The radial distribution functions are used to measure the distribution of intermolecular distances between protein molecules, whereas the pair connectedness functions are used to estimate the physical extension of compositional domains. It is shown that, at characteristic protein/lipid molar ratios, previously isolated domains become connected, forming domain networks that extend over the entire membrane surface. These changes in the lateral connectivity of compositional domains are paralleled by changes in the calculated lateral diffusion coefficients and might have important implications for the regulation of diffusion controlled processes within the membrane.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - Mar 1 1982|
ASJC Scopus subject areas