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Phase Separation in Atomistic Simulations of Model Membranes

Author:
Gu, Ruo-Xu  Baoukina, Svetlana  Tieleman, D. Peter  


Journal:
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY


Issue Date:
2020


Abstract(summary):

Understanding the lateral organization in plasma membranes remains an open problem despite a large body of research. Model membranes with coexisting micrometer-size domains are routinely employed as simplified models of plasma membranes. Many molecular dynamics simulations have investigated phase separation in model membranes at the coarse-grained level, but atomistic simulations remain computationally challenging. We simulate DPPC:DOPC and DPPC:DOPC:cholesterol lipid bilayers to investigate phase transitions at temperatures from 310 to 270 K. In this temperature range, the binary mixture forms a liquid phase (L alpha) and a coexistence of L alpha and either gel or ripple phases. The ternary mixture forms a liquid disordered (Ld) phase and a coexistence of liquid ordered (Lo) and either Ld or gel phases. We quantify the coexisting phases and discuss their properties against the background of experimental results. We observe partial registration of growing domains in both mixtures. We characterize specific cholesterol-cholesterol and cholesterol-phospholipid interaction geometries underlying its increased partitioning and the smoothed phase transition in the ternary mixture compared to the binary mixture. By comparing coexisting domains with homogeneous bilayers of the same composition, we demonstrate how domain coexistence affects their properties. Our simulations provide important insights into the lipid-lipid interactions in model lipid bilayers and improve our understanding of the lateral organization in plasma membranes with higher compositional complexity.


Page:
2844---2856


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