Author(s): Rg T, Vattulainen I, Bunker A, Karttunen M
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Abstract Though glycolipids are involved in a multitude of cellular functions, the understanding of their atom-scale properties in lipid membranes has remained very limited due to the lack of atomistic simulations. In this work, we employ extensive simulations to characterize one-component membranes comprised of glycoglycerolipids, focusing on two common glyco head groups, namely glucose and galactose. The properties of these two glycoglycerolipid bilayers are compared in a systematic manner with membranes consisting of phosphatidylcholine (PC) or phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) lipids, whose structures aside from the head group are identical with those of the two glycolipids. We find that the glycolipid systems are characterized by a substantial number of hydrogen bonds in the head group region, leading to membrane packing that is stronger than in a PC but less significant than that in a PE bilayer. The role played by the glyco head group is especially evident in the electrostatic membrane potential, which is particularly large in the glycolipid membranes. For the same reason, the interfacial forces near glycolipid bilayers are significantly different from those found in PC and PE bilayers, affecting, e.g., the ordering of water close to the membrane. These effects are particularly important for the case of galactose, an important component in thylacoids.
This article was published in J Phys Chem B
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology