Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Biomembrane Systems
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The fundamental structure of all biological membranes is the lipid bilayer. At- tributed to the multifaceted features of lipids and its dynamical interaction with other membrane-integrated molecules, the lipid bilayer is involved in a variety of physiological phenomena such as transmembrane transportation, cellular signalling transduction, energy storage, etc. Due to the nanoscale but high complexity of the lipid bilayer system, experimental investigation into many important processes at the molecular level is still challenging. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation has been emerging as a powerful tool to study the lipid membrane at the nanoscale. Utilizing atomistic MD, we have quantitatively investigated the effect of lamellar and nonlamellar lipid composition changes on a series of important bilayer properties, and how membranes behave when exposed to a high-pressure environment. A series of membrane properties such as lateral pressure and dipole potential pro les are quanti ed. Results suggest the hypothesis that compositional changes, involving both lipid heads and tails, modulate crucial mechanical and electrical features of the lipid bilayer, so that a range of biological phenomena, such as the permeation through the membrane and conformational equilibria of membrane proteins, may be regulated. Furthermore, water also plays an essential role in the biomembrane system. To balance accuracy and efficiency in simulations, a coarse-grained ELBA water model was developed. Here, the ELBA water model is stress tested in terms of temperature- and pressure-related properties, as well as hydrating properties. Results show that the accuracy of the ELBA model is almost as good as conventional atomistic water models, while the computational efficiency is increased substantially.
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