The interaction of α-helical peptides with lipid bilayers is central to our understanding of the physicochemical principles of biological membrane organization and stability. Mutations that alter the position or orientation of an α-helix within a membrane, or that change the probability that the α-helix will insert into the membrane, can alter a range of membrane protein functions. We describe a comparative coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation methodology, based on self-assembly of a lipid bilayer in the presence of an α-helical peptide, which allows us to model membrane transmembrane helix insertion. We validate this methodology against available experimental data for synthetic model peptides (WALP23 and LS3). Simulationbased estimates of apparent free energies of insertion into a bilayer of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived helices correlate well with published data for translocon-mediated insertion. Comparison of values of the apparent free energy of insertion from self-assembly simulations with those from coarse-grained molecular dynamics potentials of mean force for model peptides, and with translocon-mediated insertion of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived peptides suggests a nonequilibrium model of helix insertion into bilayers. © 2011 by the Biophysical Society.
Hall, B. A., Chetwynd, A. P., & Sansom, M. S. P. (2011). Exploring peptide-membrane interactions with coarse-grained MD simulations. Biophysical Journal, 100(8), 1940–1948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2011.02.041