TCBG Seminar

Coarse-grained Simulation Studies of Mesoscopic Membrane Phenomena

Professor Markus Deserno
Department of Physics
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Monday, November 2, 2009
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


Lipid membranes exhibit a large spectrum of fascinating physical behavior, spanning many orders of magnitude both in length- and time scales. To cover this wide range, models of different resolution have been developed, from atomistically resolved lipid representations to triangulated fluid-elastic surfaces. In the intermediate regime of about 100 nanometer length scale and micro- to millisecond time scale mesoscopic coarse-grained models have recently covered much ground. They can approach phenomena in which cooperativity between several proteins are crucial, while still preserving the essence of many lipid degrees of freedom (area density, order, tilt, composition, etc.), whose coupling is deemed relevant in many biological situations, notably the "raft question". I will describe in more detail a particular solvent-free coarse-grained model recently developed by us and illustrate its applicability to a wide variety of phenomena, among them pore-formation by amphipathic peptides, protein aggregation on critically mixed bilayers, and membrane vesiculation driven by curvature-imprinting proteins.

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