|Coupling Field Theory with Mesoscopic Dynamical Simulations of Multicomponent Lipid Bilayers
|Year of Publication
|McWhirter, JL, Ayton, G, Voth, GA
|Chemical *Models, Computer Simulation Lipid Bilayers/*chemistry Macromolecular Substances/chemistry *Membrane Fluidity *Models, Molecular Molecular Conformation Motion Phase Transition Surface Properties
A method for simulating a two-component lipid bilayer membrane in the mesoscopic regime is presented. The membrane is modeled as an elastic network of bonded points; the spring constants of these bonds are parameterized by the microscopic bulk modulus estimated from earlier atomistic nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations for several bilayer mixtures of DMPC and cholesterol. The modulus depends on the composition of a point in the elastic membrane model. The dynamics of the composition field is governed by the Cahn-Hilliard equation where a free energy functional models the coupling between the composition and curvature fields. The strength of the bonds in the elastic network are then modulated noting local changes in the composition and using a fit to the nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulation data. Estimates for the magnitude and sign of the coupling parameter in the free energy model are made treating the bending modulus as a function of composition. A procedure for assigning the remaining parameters in the free energy model is also outlined. It is found that the square of the mean curvature averaged over the entire simulation box is enhanced if the strength of the bonds in the elastic network are modulated in response to local changes in the composition field. We suggest that this simulation method could also be used to determine if phase coexistence affects the stress response of the membrane to uniform dilations in area. This response, measured in the mesoscopic regime, is already known to be conditioned or renormalized by thermal undulations.