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Biophys J. Oct 1999; 77(4): 2075–2089.
PMCID: PMC1300489

Structure of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine/cholesterol bilayer at low and high cholesterol concentrations: molecular dynamics simulation.

Abstract

By using molecular dynamics simulation technique we studied the changes occurring in membranes constructed of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) and cholesterol at 8:1 and 1:1 ratios. We tested two different initial arrangements of cholesterol molecules for a 1:1 ratio. The main difference between two initial structures is the average number of nearest-neighbor DPPC molecules around the cholesterol molecule. Our simulations were performed at constant temperature (T = 50 degrees C) and pressure (P = 0 atm). Durations of the runs were 2 ns. The structure of the DPPC/cholesterol membrane was characterized by calculating the order parameter profiles for the hydrocarbon chains, atom distributions, average number of gauche defects, and membrane dipole potentials. We found that adding cholesterol to membranes results in a condensing effect: the average area of membrane becomes smaller, hydrocarbon chains of DPPC have higher order, and the probability of gauche defects in DPPC tails is lower. Our results are in agreement with the data available from experiments.

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Selected References

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