Coarse-grained models of phospholipid membranes within the single chain mean field theory


S. Pogodin and V.A. Baulin

Soft Matter, 6, 2216 – 2226 (2010)

The single chain mean field theory is used to simulate the equilibrium structure of phospholipid membranes at the molecular level. Three levels of coarse-graining of DMPC phospholipid surfactants are present: the detailed 44-beads double tails model, the 10-beads double tails model and the minimal 3-beads model. We show that all three models are able to reproduce the essential equilibrium properties of the phospholipid bilayer, while the simplest 3-beads model is the fastest model which can describe adequately the thickness of the layer, the area per lipid and the rigidity of the membrane. The accuracy of the method in description of equilibrium structures of membranes compete with Monte Carlo simulations while the speed of computation and the mean field nature of the approach allows for straightforward applications to systems with great complexity.