Author(s): Thakkar FM, Ayappa KG
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Abstract Understanding the influence of polymer grafted bilayers on the physicomechanical properties of lipid membranes is important while developing liposomal based drug delivery systems. The melting characteristics and bending moduli of polymer grafted bilayers are investigated using dissipative particle dynamics simulations as a function of the amount of grafted polymer and lipid tail length. Simulations are carried out using a modified Andersen barostat, whereby the membrane is maintained in a tensionless state. For lipids made up of four to six tail beads, the transition from the low temperature L(β) phase to the L(α) phase is lowered only above a grafting fraction of G(f)=0.12 for polymers made up of 20 beads. Below G(f)=0.12 small changes are observed only for the HT(4) bilayer. The bending modulus of the bilayers is obtained as a function of G(f) from a Fourier analysis of the height fluctuations. Using the theory developed by Marsh et al. [Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1615, 33 (2003)] for polymer grafted membranes, the contributions to the bending modulus due to changes arising from the grafted polymer and bilayer thinning are partitioned. The contributions to the changes in κ from bilayer thinning were found to lie within 11\% for the lipids with four to six tail beads, increasing to 15\% for the lipids containing nine tail beads. The changes in the area stretch modulus were also assessed and were found to have a small influence on the overall contribution from membrane thinning. The increase in the area per head group of the lipids was found to be consistent with the scalings predicted by self-consistent mean field results.
This article was published in Biomicrofluidics
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology