4 years ago

Toward Chemically Resolved Computer Simulations of Dynamics and Remodeling of Biological Membranes

Toward Chemically Resolved Computer Simulations of Dynamics and Remodeling of Biological Membranes
Stefano Vanni, Thereza A. Soares, Michele Cascella, Giuseppe Milano
Cellular membranes are fundamental constituents of living organisms. Apart from defining the boundaries of the cells, they are involved in a wide range of biological functions, associated with both their structural and the dynamical properties. Biomembranes can undergo large-scale transformations when subject to specific environmental changes, including gel–liquid phase transitions, change of aggregation structure, formation of microtubules, or rupture into vesicles. All of these processes are dependent on a delicate interplay between intermolecular forces, molecular crowding, and entropy, and their understanding requires approaches that are able to capture and rationalize the details of all of the involved interactions. Molecular dynamics-based computational models at atom-level resolution are, in principle, the best way to perform such investigations. Unfortunately, the relevant spatial and time dimensionalities involved in membrane remodeling phenomena would require computational costs that are today unaffordable on a routinely basis. Such hurdles can be removed by coarse-graining the representations of the individual molecular components of the systems. This procedure anyway reduces the possibility of describing the chemical variations in the lipid mixtures composing biological membranes. New hybrid particle field multiscale approaches offer today a promising alternative to the more traditional particle-based simulations methods. By combining chemically distinguishable molecular representations with mesoscale-based computationally affordable potentials, they appear as one of the most promising ways to keep an accurate description of the chemical complexity of biological membranes and, at the same time, cover the required scales to describe remodeling events.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00493

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00493

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