All-atom molecular dynamics simulation studies of fully hydrated gel phase DPPG and DPPE bilayers
AbstractHere in silico lipid membranes are described providing a structural background of the organization of the lipid components of membranes and aiding further biological or biophysical studies. An all-atom molecular dynamics simulations has been performed to investigate structural and dynamical properties of two fully hydrated gel-phase bilayers of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoglycerol (DPPG) and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-ethanolamine (DPPE) bilayers at 303 K. The respective starting configuration of lipids in the simulation bilayer unit cells were taken on the basis of scattering data. In both simulations, we found overall reasonably good agreement with the available experimental data (area per lipid, phosphorus–phosphorus distance). The distribution of the water/counterions at the membrane interface, interactions/orientations of lipid headgroups, and hydrocarbon chain organization were extensively studied in terms of pair distribution functions between main structural components of the system. Intra/intermolecular hydrogen bond formation was discussed in detail. The water orientation at the lipid membrane interface was explored thoroughly in terms of dipole moment as a function of the water molecule positions along the membrane, where we found that the counterions changed the orientation of the water at the interface. Special attention has been devoted to the distribution of the sodium counterions around the DPPG headgroup. We found preferential binding of Na+ ions to the phosphate oxygen species.