, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 478-488

Constructing the suitable initial configuration of the membrane-protein system in molecular dynamics simulations

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Abstract

A method for constructing the suitable initial configuration of the membrane-protein system for molecular dynamics (MD) simulations is presented. This method could provide some hydrated initial configurations and help us to determine the best surface area of the system by contracting the surface area and comparing the optimized lowest energy of the system by energy minimization. The gramicidin A (GA) channel in;the fully hydrated dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) bilayer was used as our model. Three configurations with different surface areas were selected and applied for one 400 ps and two 300 ps MD simulations at constant pressure and temperature. All simulations were fairly stable without any constraints. Through analysis of the MD trajectories we found that the system with the best surface area was more stable than the other two systems, whose sizes were changed in the simulations. Further analysis of the bilayer normal length and the order parameters of the lipid alkyl tails indicates that the system with the best surface area shows some characteristics of the Lα phase, while both the smaller and the larger size systems have distinct deviations from the Lα phase that we expect. This illustrates that the correct surface area and the suitable initial configuration have an important influence on the phase of the membrane in the MD simulation. In addition, by comparing the root mean square differences of GA relative to the initial structure and interaction energy between different components of the system for all three systems, we find that the state of the DMPC bilayer has exerted a significant influence on the structure of GA. All these results demonstrate the validity of our method for constructing the initial configuration of the membrane-protein system for MD simulations.