The Journal of chemical physics

An implicit solvent coarse-grained lipid model with correct stress profile.

PMID 20515115


We develop a coarse-grained parametrization strategy for lipid membranes that we illustrate for a dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine bilayer. Our coarse-graining approach eliminates the high cost of explicit solvent but maintains more lipid interaction sites. We use a broad attractive tail-tail potential and extract realistic bonded potentials of mean force from all-atom simulations, resulting in a model with a sharp gel to fluid transition, a correct bending modulus, and overall very reasonable dynamics when compared with experiment. We also determine a quantitative stress profile and correct breakdown of contributions from lipid components when compared with detailed all-atom simulation benchmarks, which has been difficult to achieve for implicit membrane models. Such a coarse-grained lipid model will be necessary for efficiently simulating complex constructs of the membrane, such as protein assembly and lipid raft formation, within these nonaqueous chemical environments.