Although the properties of the cell plasma membrane lipid bilayer are broadly understood to affect integral membrane proteins, details of these interactions are poorly understood. This is particularly the case for the large family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Here, we examine the lipid dependence of the human serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, a GPCR that is central to neuronal function. We incorporate the protein in synthetic bilayers of controlled composition together with a fluorescent reporting system that detects GPCR-catalyzed activation of G protein to measure receptor-catalyzed oligonucleotide exchange. Our results show that increased membrane order induced by sterols and sphingomyelin increases receptor-catalyzed oligonucleotide exchange. Increasing membrane elastic curvature stress also increases this exchange. These results reveal the broad dependence that the 5-HT1A receptor has on plasma membrane properties, demonstrating that membrane lipid composition is a biochemical control parameter and highlighting the possibility that compositional changes related to aging, diet, or disease could impact cell signaling functions.
Gutierrez, M. Gertrude, Kylee S. Mansfield, Noah Malmstadt