Cholesterol Flip-Flop Impacts Domain Registration in Plasma Membrane Models

Sebastian Thallmair, Helgi I. Ingólfsson, Siewert J. Marrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
294 Downloads (Pure)


The plasma membrane is a highly complex multicomponent system that is central to the functioning of cells. Cholesterol, a key lipid component of the plasma membrane, promotes the formation of nanodomains. These nanodomains are often correlated across the two membrane leaflets, but the underlying physical mechanism remains unclear. Using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, we investigate the influence of cholesterol flip-flop on membrane properties, in particular, the interleaflet coupling of cholesterol-enriched domains. We show that the cholesterol density correlation between the leaflets of an average mammalian plasma membrane is significantly reduced by suppressing interleaflet cholesterol population. Our results suggest an amplifying role of cholesterol in signal transduction across the leaflets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5527-5533
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 11-Sep-2018

Cite this