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A Critical Comparison of Biomembrane Force Fields: Structure and Dynamics of Model DMPC, POPC, and POPE Bilayers

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-04-01, 00:00 authored by Kristyna Pluhackova, Sonja A. Kirsch, Jing Han, Liping Sun, Zhenyan Jiang, Tobias Unruh, Rainer A. Böckmann
Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations have become an important source of information for the structure and dynamics of biomembranes at molecular detail difficult to access in experiments. A number of force fields for lipid membrane simulations have been derived in the past; the choice of the most suitable force field is, however, frequently hampered by the availability of parameters for specific lipids. Additionally, the comparison of different quantities among force fields is often aggravated by varying simulation parameters. Here, we compare four atomistic lipid force fields, namely, the united-atom GROMOS54a7 and the all-atom force fields CHARMM36, Slipids, and Lipid14, for a broad range of structural and dynamical properties of saturated and monounsaturated phosphatidylcholine bilayers (DMPC and POPC) as well as for monounsaturated phosphatidylethanolamine bilayers (POPE). Additionally, the ability of the different force fields to describe the gel–liquid crystalline phase transition is compared and their computational efficiency estimated. Moreover, membrane properties like the water flux across the lipid bilayer and lipid acyl chain protrusion probabilities are compared.