5 years ago

Artificial biomembrane morphology: a dissipative particle dynamics study

Rodney Averett, Xianqiao Wang, Matthew Becton

Artificial membranes mimicking biological structures are rapidly breaking new ground in the areas of medicine and soft-matter physics. In this endeavor, we use dissipative particle dynamics simulation to investigate the morphology and behavior of lipid-based biomembranes under conditions of varied lipid density and self-interaction. Our results show that a less-than-normal initial lipid density does not create the traditional membrane; but instead results in the formation of a ‘net’, or at very low densities, a series of disparate ‘clumps’ similar to the micelles formed by lipids in nature. When the initial lipid density is high, a membrane forms, but due to the large number of lipids, the naturally formed membrane would be larger than the simulation box, leading to ‘rippling’ behavior as the excess repulsive force of the membrane interior overcomes the bending energy of the membrane. Once the density reaches a certain point however, ‘bubbles’ appear inside the membrane, reducing the rippling behavior and eventually generating a relatively flat, but thick, structure with micelles of water inside the membrane itself. Our simulations also demonstrate that the interaction parameter between individual lipids plays a significant role in the formation and behavior of lipid membrane assemblies, creating similar structures as the initial lipid density distribution. This work provides a comprehensive approach to the intricacies of lipid membranes, and offers a guideline to design biological or polymeric membranes through self-assembly processes as well as develop novel cellular manipulation and destruction techniques.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07391102.2017.1373705

DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2017.1373705

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