Diffusion of water and selected atoms in DMPC lipid bilayer membranes

Flemming Yssing Hansen, Günther H.J. Peters, H. Taub, A. Miskowiec

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Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to determine the diffusion of water molecules as a function of their position in a fully hydrated freestanding 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine (DMPC) bilayer membrane at 303 K and 1 atm. The diffusion rate of water in a ∼10 Å thick layer just outside the membrane surface is reduced on average by a factor of ∼2 relative to bulk. For water molecules penetrating deeper into the membrane, there is an increasing reduction in the average diffusion rate with up to one order of magnitude decrease for those deepest in the membrane. A comparison with the diffusion rate of selected atoms in the lipid molecules shows that ∼6 water molecules per lipid molecule move on the same time scale as the lipids and may therefore be considered to be tightly bound to them. The quasielastic neutron scattering functions for water and selected atoms in the lipid molecule have been simulated and compared to observed quasielastic neutron scattering spectra from single-supported bilayer DMPC membranes. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)Paper 204910
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2012 American Institute of Physics


  • Atoms
  • Diffusion
  • Lipid bilayers
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Molecules
  • Neutron scattering
  • Membranes

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