Myelin-Associated MAL and PLP Are Unusual among Multipass Transmembrane Proteins in Preferring Ordered Membrane Domains

J Phys Chem B. 2020 Jul 16;124(28):5930-5939. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c03028. Epub 2020 Jun 4.


Eukaryotic membranes can be partitioned into lipid-driven membrane microdomains called lipid rafts, which function to sort lipids and proteins in the plane of the membrane. As protein selectivity underlies all functions of lipid rafts, there has been significant interest in understanding the structural and molecular determinants of raft affinity. Such determinants have been described for lipids and single-spanning transmembrane proteins; however, how multipass transmembrane proteins (TMPs) partition between ordered and disordered phases has not been widely explored. Here we used cell-derived giant plasma membrane vesicles (GPMVs) to systematically measure multipass TMP partitioning to ordered membrane domains. Across a set of 24 structurally and functionally diverse multipass TMPs, the large majority (92%) had minimal raft affinity. The only exceptions were two myelin-associated four-pass TMPs, myelin and lymphocyte protein (MAL), and proteo lipid protein (PLP). We characterized the potential mechanisms for their exceptional raft affinity and observed that PLP requires cholesterol and sphingolipids for optimal association with ordered membrane domains and that PLP and MAL appear to compete for cholesterol-mediated raft affinity. These observations suggest broad conclusions about the composition of ordered membrane domains in cells and point to previously unrecognized drivers of raft affinity for multipass transmembrane proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane
  • Lymphocytes
  • Membrane Microdomains*
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Myelin Sheath*


  • Membrane Proteins