Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Fluid Lipid Membranes
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Lipid molecules form thin biological membranes that envelop all living cells, and behave as two-dimensional liquid sheets immersed in bulk water. The interactions of such biomembranes with their environment lay the foundation of a plethora of biological processes rooted in the mesoscopic domain - length scales of 1-1000 nm and time scales of 1-1000 ns. Research in this intermediate regime has for a long time been out of reach for conventional experiments, but breakthroughs in computer simulation methods and scattering experimental techniques have made it possible to directly probe static and dynamic properties of biomembranes on these scales.
Biomembranes are soft, with a relatively low energy cost of bending, and are thereby influenced by random, thermal fluctuations of individual molecules. Molecular dynamics simulations show how in-plane (density fluctuations) and out-of-plane (undulations) motions are intertwined in the bilayer in the mesoscopic domain. By novel methods, the fluctuation spectra of lipid bilayers can be calculated withdirect Fourier analysis. The interpretation of the fluctuation spectra reveals a picture where density fluctuations and undulations are most pronounced on different length scales, but coalesce in the mesoscopic regime. This analysis has significant consequences for comparison of simulation data to experiments. These new methods merge the molecular fluctuations on small wavelengths, with continuum fluctuations of the elastic membrane sheet on large wavelengths, allowing electron density profiles (EDP) and area per lipid to be extracted from simulations with high accuracy.
Molecular dynamics simulations also provide insight on the small-wavelength dynamics of lipid membranes. Rapidly decaying density fluctuations can be described as propagating sound waves in the framework of linearized hydrodynamics, but there is a slow, dispersive, contribution that needs to be described by a stretched exponential over a broad range of length- and time scales - recent experiments suggest that this behavior can prevail even on micrometer length scales. The origin of this behavior is discussed in the context of fluctuations of the bilayer interface and the molecular structure of the bilayer itself. Connections to recent neutron scattering experiments are highlighted.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , xi, 90 p.
Trita-FYS, ISSN 0280-316X ; 2011:48
biological fluid dynamics, biomembranes, hydrodynamics, lipid bilayers, molecular dynamics, neutron spin echo
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-42586ISBN: 978-91-7501-125-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-42586DiVA: diva2:447323
2011-11-04, FB42, AlbaNova Universitetscentrum, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Deserno, Markus, Professor
Edholm, Olle, ProfessorWallin, Mats, Professor
ProjectsModelling of biological membranes
FunderSwedish e‐Science Research Center
QC 201110142011-10-142011-10-112012-05-24Bibliographically approved
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