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Title: Linking lipid architecture to bilayer structure and mechanics using self-consistent field modelling

To understand how lipid architecture determines the lipid bilayer structure and its mechanics, we implement a molecularly detailed model that uses the self-consistent field theory. This numerical model accurately predicts parameters such as Helfrichs mean and Gaussian bending modulus k{sub c} and k{sup ¯} and the preferred monolayer curvature J{sub 0}{sup m}, and also delivers structural membrane properties like the core thickness, and head group position and orientation. We studied how these mechanical parameters vary with system variations, such as lipid tail length, membrane composition, and those parameters that control the lipid tail and head group solvent quality. For the membrane composition, negatively charged phosphatidylglycerol (PG) or zwitterionic, phosphatidylcholine (PC), and -ethanolamine (PE) lipids were used. In line with experimental findings, we find that the values of k{sub c} and the area compression modulus k{sub A} are always positive. They respond similarly to parameters that affect the core thickness, but differently to parameters that affect the head group properties. We found that the trends for k{sup ¯} and J{sub 0}{sup m} can be rationalised by the concept of Israelachivili's surfactant packing parameter, and that both k{sup ¯} and J{sub 0}{sup m} change sign with relevant parameter changes. Although typically k{supmore » ¯}<0, membranes can form stable cubic phases when the Gaussian bending modulus becomes positive, which occurs with membranes composed of PC lipids with long tails. Similarly, negative monolayer curvatures appear when a small head group such as PE is combined with long lipid tails, which hints towards the stability of inverse hexagonal phases at the cost of the bilayer topology. To prevent the destabilisation of bilayers, PG lipids can be mixed into these PC or PE lipid membranes. Progressive loading of bilayers with PG lipids lead to highly charged membranes, resulting in J{sub 0}{sup m}≫0, especially at low ionic strengths. We anticipate that these changes lead to unstable membranes as these become vulnerable to pore formation or disintegration into lipid disks.« less
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  1. Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 6, 6307 HB Wageningen (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 140; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States