Molecular structure and function of myelin protein P0 in membrane stacking
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Compact myelin forms the basis of nerve insulation essential for higher vertebrates. Dozens of myelin membrane bilayers undergo tight stacking, and in the peripheral nervous system, this is partially enabled by myelin protein zero (P0). Consisting of an immunoglobulin (Ig)-like extracellular domain, a single transmembrane helix, and a cytoplasmic extension (P0ct), P0 harbours an important task in ensuring the integrity of compact myelin in the extracellular compartment, referred to as the intraperiod line. Several disease mutations resulting in peripheral neuropathies have been identifed for P0, refecting its physiological importance, but the arrangement of P0 within the myelin ultrastructure remains obscure. We performed a biophysical characterization of recombinant P0ct. P0ct contributes to the binding afnity between apposed cytoplasmic myelin membrane leafets, which not only results in changes of the bilayer properties, but also potentially involves the arrangement of the Iglike domains in a manner that stabilizes the intraperiod line. Transmission electron cryomicroscopy of native full-length P0 showed that P0 stacks lipid membranes by forming antiparallel dimers between the extracellular Ig-like domains. The zipper-like arrangement of the P0 extracellular domains between two membranes explains the double structure of the myelin intraperiod line. Our results contribute to the understanding of PNS myelin, the role of P0 therein, and the underlying molecular foundation of compact myelin stability in health and disease.