Sensing membrane voltage by reorientation of dipolar transmembrane peptides

Konark Bisht*, Michael A. Lomholt, Himanshu Khandelia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Membrane voltage plays a vital role in the behavior and functions of the lipid bilayer membrane. For instance, it regulates the exchange of molecules across the membrane through transmembrane proteins such as ion channels. In this paper, we study the membrane voltage-sensing mechanism, which entails the reorientation of α-helices with a change in the membrane voltage. We consider a helix having a large electrical macrodipole embedded in a lipid bilayer as a model system. We performed extensive molecular dynamics simulations to study the effect of variation of membrane voltage on the tilt angle of peptides and ascertain the optimal parameters for designing such a voltage-sensing peptide. A theoretical model for the system is also developed to investigate the interplay of competing effects of hydrophobic mismatch and dipole-electric field coupling on the tilt of the peptide and further explore the parameter space. This work opens the possibility for the design and fabrication of artificial dipolar membrane voltage-sensing elements for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)584-597
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 5. Mar 2024


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