Molecular dynamics generation of nonarbitrary membrane models reveals lipid orientational correlations

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This report addresses the following problems associated with the generation of computer models of phospholipid bilayer membranes using molecular dynamics simulations: arbitrary initial structures and short equilibration periods, an Ewald-induced strong coupling of phospholipids, uncertainty regarding which value should be used for surface tension to alleviate the problem of the small size of the membrane, and simultaneous realization of both order parameters and the surface area. We generated a computer model of the liquid-crystalline L-α-dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) bilayer, starting from a configuration based on a crystal structure (rather than from an arbitrary structure). To break the crystalline structure, a 20-ps high-temperature pulse of 510 K (but not 450 or 480 K) was effective. The system finally obtained is an all-atom model, with Ewald summation to evaluate Coulombic interactions and a constant surface tension of 35 dynes/cm/water-membrane interface, equilibrated for 12 ns (over 50 ns total calculation time), which reproduces all of the experimentally observed parameters examined in this work. Furthermore, this model shows the presence of significant orientational correlations between neighboring alkyl chains and between shoulder vectors (which show the orientations of the lipids about their long axes) of neighboring DMPCs.




Takaoka, Y., Pasenkiewicz-Gierula, M., Miyagawa, H., Kitamura, K., Tamura, Y., & Kusumi, A. (2000). Molecular dynamics generation of nonarbitrary membrane models reveals lipid orientational correlations. Biophysical Journal, 79(6), 3118–3138.

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