Using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations we have explored the effect of α-Synuclein (αSyn) on the structural and mechanical properties of small unilamellar vesicles in the fluid-phase. The study is motivated by observations that a high density of membrane-bound αSyn inhibits the fusion of synthetic small unilamellar vesicles. By combining three-dimensional pressure tensor calculations with our recently developed spherical harmonics fluctuation analysis approach, we show a reduction in membrane surface tension and increased membrane undulations when αSyn is bound to the vesicle's outer leaflet at a 200:1 L/P. The protein effects these changes by decreasing the negative pressure in the headgroup region of the outer leaflet and increasing the positive pressure throughout the hydrocarbon core.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant No. RO1 NS084998 (to J.N.S.) and National Research Service Award Fellowship No. F31 NS077634 (to A.R.B.).