LCAT is an enzyme responsible for the formation of cholesteryl esters from unesterified cholesterol (UC) and phospholipid (PL) molecules in HDL particles. However, it is poorly understood how LCAT interacts with lipoproteins and how apoA-I activates it. Here we have studied the interactions between LCAT and lipids through molecular simulations. In addition, we studied the binding of LCAT to apoA-I-derived peptides, and their effect on LCAT lipid association-utilizing experiments. Results show that LCAT anchors itself to lipoprotein surfaces by utilizing nonpolar amino acids located in the membrane-binding domain and the active site tunnel opening. Meanwhile, the membrane-anchoring hydrophobic amino acids attract cholesterol molecules next to them. The results also highlight the role of the lid-loop in the lipid binding and conformation of LCAT with respect to the lipid surface. The apoA-I-derived peptides from the LCAT-activating region bind to LCAT and promote its lipid surface interactions, although some of these peptides do not bind lipids individually. The transfer free-energy of PL from the lipid bilayer into the active site is consistent with the activation energy of LCAT. Furthermore, the entry of UC molecules into the active site becomes highly favorable by the acylation of SER181.
- High density lipoprotein
- Lipid membranes