Lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) acting at membrane contact sites (MCS) between the ER and other organelles contain domains involved in heterotypic (e.g., ER to Golgi) membrane tethering as well as domains involved in lipid transfer. Here, we show that a long ≈90 aa intrinsically unfolded sequence at the N terminus of oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) controls OSBP orientation and dynamics at MCS. This Gly-Pro-Ala-rich sequence, whose hydrodynamic radius is twice as that of folded domains, prevents the two PH domains of the OSBP dimer from homotypically tethering two Golgi-like membranes and considerably facilitates OSBP in-plane diffusion and recycling at MCS. Although quite distant in sequence, the N terminus of OSBP-related protein-4 (ORP4) has similar effects. We propose that N-terminal sequences of low complexity in ORPs form an entropic barrier that restrains protein orientation, limits protein density, and facilitates protein mobility in the narrow and crowded MCS environment. Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP), which transports cholesterol at membrane contact sites (MCS), contains domains involved in membrane tethering and in lipid transfer. Jamecna et al. show that a long N-terminal intrinsically disordered sequence in OSBP limits protein density and restricts protein orientation, thereby facilitating OSBP dynamics at MCS.
Jamecna, D., Polidori, J., Mesmin, B., Dezi, M., Levy, D., Bigay, J., & Antonny, B. (2019). An Intrinsically Disordered Region in OSBP Acts as an Entropic Barrier to Control Protein Dynamics and Orientation at Membrane Contact Sites. Developmental Cell, 49(2), 220-234.e8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2019.02.021