Exploring large-scale phenomena in composite membranes through an efficient implicit-solvent model


Several microscopic and mesoscale models have been introduced in the past to investigate various phenomena in lipid membranes. Most of these models account for the solvent explicitly. Since in a typical molecular dynamics simulation, the majority of particles belong to the solvent, much of the computational effort in these simulations is devoted for calculating forces between solvent particles. To overcome this problem, several implicit-solvent mesoscale models for lipid membranes have been proposed during the last few years. In the present article, we review an efficient coarse-grained implicit-solvent model we introduced earlier for studies of lipid membranes. In this model, lipid molecules are coarse-grained into short semi-flexible chains of beads with soft interactions. Through molecular dynamics simulations, the model is used to investigate the thermal, structural and elastic properties of lipid membranes. We will also review here few studies, based on this model, of the phase behavior of nanoscale liposomes, cytoskeleton-induced blebbing in lipid membranes, as well as nanoparticles wrapping and endocytosis by tensionless lipid membranes.

Publication Title

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics