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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2017 Jun 28;19(25):16806-16818. doi: 10.1039/c7cp01921a.

Determination of bending rigidity and tilt modulus of lipid membranes from real-space fluctuation analysis of molecular dynamics simulations.

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Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Computational Biology and Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.


We have recently developed a novel computational methodology (termed RSF for Real-Space Fluctuations) to quantify the bending rigidity and tilt modulus of lipid membranes from real-space analysis of fluctuations in the tilt and splay degrees of freedom as sampled in molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. In this article, we present a comprehensive study that combines results from the application of the RSF method to a wide range of lipid bilayer systems that encompass membranes of different fluidities and sizes, including lipids with saturated and unsaturated lipid tails, single and multi-component lipid systems, as well as non-standard lipids such as the four-tailed cardiolipin. By comparing the material properties calculated with the RSF method to those obtained from experimental data and from other computational methodologies, we rigorously demonstrate the validity of our approach and show its robustness. This should allow for future applications of even more complex lipidic assemblies, whose material properties are not tractable by other computational techniques. In addition, we discuss the relationship between different definitions of the tilt modulus appearing in current literature to address some important unresolved discrepancies in the field.

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