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Chem Rev. 2019 May 8;119(9):5954-5997. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00486. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Membrane Permeability.

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Laboratory of Computational Biology, National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute , National Institutes of Health , Bethesda , Maryland 20892 , United States.


This Review illustrates the evaluation of permeability of lipid membranes from molecular dynamics (MD) simulation primarily using water and oxygen as examples. Membrane entrance, translocation, and exit of these simple permeants (one hydrophilic and one hydrophobic) can be simulated by conventional MD, and permeabilities can be evaluated directly by Fick's First Law, transition rates, and a global Bayesian analysis of the inhomogeneous solubility-diffusion model. The assorted results, many of which are applicable to simulations of nonbiological membranes, highlight the limitations of the homogeneous solubility diffusion model; support the utility of inhomogeneous solubility diffusion and compartmental models; underscore the need for comparison with experiment for both simple solvent systems (such as water/hexadecane) and well-characterized membranes; and demonstrate the need for microsecond simulations for even simple permeants like water and oxygen. Undulations, subdiffusion, fractional viscosity dependence, periodic boundary conditions, and recent developments in the field are also discussed. Last, while enhanced sampling methods and increasingly sophisticated treatments of diffusion add substantially to the repertoire of simulation-based approaches, they do not address directly the critical need for force fields with polarizability and multipoles, and constant pH methods.

[Available on 2020-05-08]

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