SPICA Force Field for Lipid Membranes: Domain Formation Induced by Cholesterol

2018-12-04T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Sangjae Seo Wataru Shinoda
Heterogeneity is essential for multicomponent lipid membranes. Especially, sterol-induced domain formation in membranes has recently attracted attention because of its biological importance. To investigate such membrane domains at the molecular level, coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD) simulations are a promising approach since they allow one to consider the temporal and spatial scales involved in domain formation. In this work, we present a new CG force field, named SPICA, which can accurately predict domain formation within various lipids in membranes. The SPICA force field was developed as an extension of a previous CG model, known as SDK (Shinoda–DeVane–Klein), in which membrane properties such as tension, elasticity, and structure are well reproduced. By examining domain formation in a series of ternary lipid bilayers, we observed a separation into liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered phases fully consistent with experimental observations. Importantly, it is shown that the SPICA force field can detect the different phase behavior that results from subtle differences in the lipid composition of the bilayer.