The preferred conformations of the glycerol region of a phospholipid have been explored using replica exchange molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and compared with the results of standard MD approaches and with experiment. We found that due to isomerization rates in key torsions that are slow on the timescale of atomistic MD simulations, standard MD is not able to produce accurate equilibrium conformer distributions from reasonable trajectory lengths (e.g., on the 100 ns) timescale. Replica exchange MD, however, results in quite efficient sampling due to the rapid increase in isomerization rate with temperature. The equilibrium distributions obtained from replica exchange MD have been compared with the results of experimental nuclear magnetic resonance observations. This comparison suggests that the sampling approach demonstrated here is a valuable tool that can be used in evaluating force fields for molecular simulation of lipids.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 9, 2011
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