20 July 2018
The spatiotemporal organisation of membranes is often characterised by the formation of large protein clusters. In Escherichia coli, outer membrane protein (OMP) clustering leads to OMP islands, the formation of which underpins OMP turnover and drives organisation across the cell envelope. Modelling how OMP islands form in order to understand their origin and outer membrane behaviour has been confounded by the inherent difficulties of simulating large numbers of OMPs over meaningful timescales. Here, we overcome these problems by training a mesoscale model incorporating thousands of OMPs on coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. We achieve simulations over timescales that allow direct comparison to experimental data of OMP behaviour. We show that specific interaction surfaces between OMPs are key to the formation of OMP clusters, that OMP clusters present a mesh of moving barriers that confine newly inserted proteins within islands, and that mesoscale simulations recapitulate the restricted diffusion characteristics of OMPs.
Submitted to ORA: