Coaction of Electrostatic and Hydrophobic Interactions: Dynamic Constraints on Disordered TrkA Juxtamembrane Domain

30 September 2019, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The receptor tyrosine kinase family transmits signals into cell via a single transmembrane helix and a flexible juxtamembrane domain (JMD). Membrane dynamics makes it challenging to study the structural mechanism of receptor activation experimentally. In this study, we employ all-atom molecular dynamics with Highly Mobile Membrane-Mimetic to capture membrane interactions with the JMD of tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA). We find that PIP2 lipids engage in lasting binding to multiple basic residues and compete with salt bridge within the peptide. We discover three residues insertion into the membrane, and perturb it through computationally designed point mutations. Single-molecule experiments indicate the contribution from hydrophobic insertion is comparable to electrostatic binding, and in-cell experiments show that enhanced TrkA-JMD insertion promotes receptor ubiquitination. Our joint work points to a scenario where basic and hydrophobic residues on disordered domains interact with lipid headgroups and tails, respectively, to restrain flexibility and potentially modulate protein function.


cell signaling
receptor tyrosine kinase
molecular dynamics


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.