Measuring the composition-curvature coupling in binary lipid membranes by computer simulations

I A Barragán Vidal, C M Rosetti, C Pastorino, M Müller
Journal of Chemical Physics 2014 November 21, 141 (19): 194902
The coupling between local composition fluctuations in binary lipid membranes and curvature affects the lateral membrane structure. We propose an efficient method to compute the composition-curvature coupling in molecular simulations and apply it to two coarse-grained membrane models-a minimal, implicit-solvent model and the MARTINI model. Both the weak-curvature behavior that is typical for thermal fluctuations of planar bilayer membranes as well as the strong-curvature regime corresponding to narrow cylindrical membrane tubes are studied by molecular dynamics simulation. The simulation results are analyzed by using a phenomenological model of the thermodynamics of curved, mixed bilayer membranes that accounts for the change of the monolayer area upon bending. Additionally the role of thermodynamic characteristics such as the incompatibility between the two lipid species and asymmetry of composition are investigated.

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