Formation of SMALPs


Experimental characterization of membrane proteins often requires their solubilization. A recent approach is to use styrene maleic acid (SMA) copolymers to isolate membrane proteins in nanometer-sized membrane discs, so called SMA lipid particles (SMALPs). The approach has the advantage of allowing direct extraction of proteins, keeping their native lipid environment. Despite the growing popularity of using SMALPs, the molecular mechanism behind the process remains poorly understood.

In this paper, we unravel the molecular details of the nanodisc formation based on Martini simulations:

M. Xue, L. Cheng, I. Faustino, W. Guo, S.J. Marrink, Biophys. J., 2018, online.

Lipid fingerprints

fingerprintThe large variety of lipids in the plasma membrane gives rise to very complex protein-lipid interactions. These interactions, coined fingeprints, are analyzed in the following paper, based on the Martini model (what else?):

V. Corradi et al. Lipid–Protein Interactions Are Unique Fingerprints for Membrane Proteins. ACS Cent. Sci., asap, 2018. DOI:10.1021/acscentsci.8b00143

Curvature-induced lipid sorting

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By pulling tethers from realistic plasma membranes we have been able to identify to what extent lipids are being sorted as a result of curvature. We show that some lipids are depleted from highly curved regions, whereas other are being enriched. But everything also depends on the pulling direction, as the plasma membrane is asymmetric. For details, see the paper which is now available online in the new flagship journal of Wiley:

S. Baoukina, H.I. Ingólfsson, S.J. Marrink, D.P. Tieleman. Curvature‐Induced Sorting of Lipids in Plasma Membrane Tethers. Advanced Theory and Simulations,


Martini 3.0 before the Summer

The long awaited (beta) release date of the new Martini 3.0 model is finally there: July 1st, 2018.

Only 3 weeks to go, and all your Martini worries will be gone !

Review on supramolecular systems

Interested in supramolecular self-assembly ? Check out this review from our group, featuring many Martini-based simulations:

P.W.J.M. Frederix, I. Patmanidis, S.J. Marrink. Molecular simulations of self-assembling bio-inspired supramolecular systems and their connection to experiments. Chem. Soc. Review, in press, 2018. doi:10.1039/C8CS00040A

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