Multi-Scale Modeling of Phase Separation in Mixed Lipid Bilayers

TitleMulti-Scale Modeling of Phase Separation in Mixed Lipid Bilayers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsShi, Q, Voth, GA
JournalBiophys J
KeywordsBiological *Models, Cell Membrane/*chemistry Computer Simulation Lipid Bilayers/*chemistry *Membrane Fluidity Models, Chemical *Models, Molecular Molecular Conformation Phase Transition Phospholipids/*chemistry

An approach to bridging the phenomenological field theory description of phase separation in binary mixed lipid bilayers with coarse-grained (CG) molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is presented. CG MD simulation is carried out for a 1:1 dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine/dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine lipid mixture at the liquid-gel phase coexistence condition. The liquid-gel phase separation can be characterized by the bilayer thickness, area per lipid molecule, and orientation parameter of the lipid tails. After a local order parameter is defined using the lipid tail bond orientation parameter, the CG MD data are bridged to a mesoscopic model based on the phenomenological Landau-Ginzberg free-energy functional. All parameters in this mesoscopic model are defined from the information of the phase boundary structure and the distributions of the order parameter in the liquid and gel phases. It is found that the mesoscopic model reproduces the equilibrium properties of the system very well, including collective fluctuations in both phases, spatial correlation functions of the order parameter, and the line tension. The possibility of using a time-dependent Landau-Ginzberg model to mimic the phase-separation dynamics is also investigated, using the relaxation time constant obtained by fitting the time-dependent correlation functions of the order parameter.