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Molecular modeling of lipid probes and their influence on the membrane

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier B.V. In this review a number of Molecular Dynamics simulation studies are discussed which focus on the understanding of the behavior of lipid probes in biomembranes. Experiments often use specialized probe moieties or molecules to report on the behavior of a membrane and try to gain information on the membrane as a whole from the probe lipids as these probes are the only things an experiment sees. Probes can be used to make NMR, EPR and fluorescence accessible to the membrane and use fluorescent or spin–active moieties for this purpose. Clearly membranes with and without probes are not identical which makes it worthwhile to elucidate the differences between them with detailed atomistic simulations. In almost all cases these differences are confined to the local neighborhood of the probe molecules which are sparsely used and generally present as single molecules. In general, the behavior of the bulk membrane lipids can be qualitatively understood from the probes but in most cases their properties cannot be directly quantitatively deduced from the probe behavior. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Biosimulations edited by Ilpo Vattulainen and Tomasz Róg.

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