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Biophys J. 2004 Jan;86(1 Pt 1):337-45.

Distribution of pentachlorophenol in phospholipid bilayers: a molecular dynamics study.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.


Molecular dynamics computer simulations of pentachlorophenol (PCP) in palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine and palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine lipid bilayers were carried out to investigate the distribution of PCP and the effects of PCP on the phospholipid bilayer structure. Starting from two extreme starting structures, including PCP molecules outside the lipid bilayer, the PCP distribution converges in simulations of up to 50 ns. PCP preferentially occupies the region between the carbonyl groups and the double bonds in the acyl chains of the lipid molecules in the bilayer. In the presence of PCP, the lipid chain order increases somewhat in both chains, and the average tilt angle of the lipid chains decreases. The increase in the lipid chain order in the presence of PCP was more pronounced in the palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine bilayer compared to the palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine bilayer. The number of trans conformations of lipid chain dihedrals does not change significantly. PCP aligns parallel to the alkyl chains of the lipid to optimize the packing in the dense ordered chain region of the bilayer. The hydroxyl group of PCP forms hydrogen bonds with both water and lipid oxygen atoms in the water/lipid interface region.

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