The interactions between proteins and biological membranes are important for drug development, but remain notoriously refractory to structural investigation. We combine non-denaturing mass spectrometry (MS) with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to unravel the connections among co-factor, lipid, and inhibitor binding in the peripheral membrane protein dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), a key anticancer target. Interrogation of intact DHODH complexes by MS reveals that phospholipids bind via their charged head groups at a limited number of sites, while binding of the inhibitor brequinar involves simultaneous association with detergent molecules. MD simulations show that lipids support flexible segments in the membrane-binding domain and position the inhibitor and electron acceptor-binding site away from the membrane surface, similar to the electron acceptor-binding site in respiratory chain complex I. By complementing MS with MD simulations, we demonstrate how a peripheral membrane protein uses lipids to modulate its structure in a similar manner as integral membrane proteins. The combination of mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations provides insights into the relationship between lipid and substrate binding to the peripheral membrane protein dehydroorotate dehydrogenase, revealing ligand-induced stabilization of the flexible membrane-binding region.
Costeira-Paulo, J., Gault, J., Popova, G., Ladds, M. J. G. W., van Leeuwen, I. M. M., Sarr, M., … Landreh, M. (2018). Lipids Shape the Electron Acceptor-Binding Site of the Peripheral Membrane Protein Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase. Cell Chemical Biology, 25(3), 309-317.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2017.12.012