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The Effect of Cholesterol on Membrane-Bound Islet Amyloid Polypeptide

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Islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) is a proposed cause of the decreased beta-cell mass in patients with type-II diabetes. The molecular composition of the cell-membrane is important for regulating IAPP cytotoxicity and aggregation. Cholesterol is present at high concentrations in the pancreatic beta-cells, and in-vitro experiments have indicated that it affects the amyloid formation of IAPP either by direct interactions or by changing the properties of the membrane. In this study we apply atomistic, unbiased molecular dynamics simulations at a microsecond timescale to investigate the effect of cholesterol on membrane bound IAPP. Simulations were performed with various combinations of cholesterol, phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylserine (PS) lipids. In all simulations, the helical structure of monomer IAPP was stabilized by the membrane. We found that cholesterol decreased the insertion depth of IAPP compared to pure phospholipid membranes, while PS lipids counteract the effect of cholesterol. The aggregation propensity has previously been proposed to correlate with the insertion depth of IAPP, which we found to decrease with the increased ordering of the lipids induced by cholesterol. Cholesterol is depleted in the vicinity of IAPP, and thus our results suggest that the effect of cholesterol is indirect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number657946
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Christensen, Berglund and Schiøtt.

    Research areas

  • aggregation, amylin, amyloid, cholesterol, diabetes, simulations

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