Molecular dynamics simulation of model lipid membranes: Structural effects of impurities

Yurtsever M.

MOLECULAR SIMULATION, vol.27, no.3, pp.187-197, 2001 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/08927020108023023
  • Title of Journal : MOLECULAR SIMULATION
  • Page Numbers: pp.187-197


The gel to fluid phase transition or ordered to disordered phase transition observed in biological membranes are simulated by using constant energy Molecular Dynamics. The surface part of the membrane is modelled as a two-dimensional matrix formed by the head groups of the phospholipid molecules. Head molecules which are modelled as three spheres fused with three force centers. interact with each other via van der Waals and Coulomb type interactions. The -so called- impurity or foreign molecule embedded in the surface represents the protein type molecule which is present in biological membranes and control its activity. It is modelled as a pentagon having one force centers in each corner. It also interacts with the surface molecules again via van der Waals and Coulomb type interactions. The surface density is kept constant in the simulations of the systems with or without impurity. Structural and orientational changes due to impurity were observed and proved by monitoring two-dimensional order parameter. It has been shown that melting of the surface or breakage of the ordering of the surface molecules becomes easier and ordered to disordered phase transition temperature was lowered by 100 K if the impurity is present.