Coarse-grain simulations of active molecular machines in lipid bilayers

Mu Jie Huang, Raymond Kapral, Alexander S. Mikhailov, Hsuan Yi Chen

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A coarse-grain method for simulations of the dynamics of active protein inclusions in lipid bilayers is described. It combines the previously proposed hybrid simulations of bilayers [M.-J. Huang, R. Kapral, A. S. Mikhailov, and H.-Y. Chen, J. Chem. Phys. 137, 055101 (2012)]10.1063/1.4736414, based on molecular dynamics for the lipids and multi-particle collision dynamics for the solvent, with an elastic-network description of active proteins. The method is implemented for a model molecular machine which performs active conformational motions induced by ligand binding and its release after reaction. The situation characteristic for peripheral membrane proteins is considered. Statistical investigations of the effects of single active or passive inclusions on the shape of the membrane are carried out. The results show that the peripheral machine produces asymmetric perturbations of the thickness of two leaflets of the membrane. It also produces a local saddle in the midplane height of the bilayer. Analysis of the power spectrum of the fluctuations of the membrane midplane shows that the conformational motion of the machine perturbs these membrane fluctuations. The hydrodynamic lipid flows induced by cyclic conformational changes in the machine are analyzed. It is shown that such flows are long-ranged and should provide an additional important mechanism for interactions between active inclusions in biological membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195101
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - 21 May 2013


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