Short-Range Order and Collective Dynamics of DMPC Bilayers: A Comparison between Molecular Dynamics Simulations, X-Ray, and Neutron Scattering Experiments


We present an extensive comparison of short-range order and short wavelength dynamics of a hydrated phospholipid bilayer derived by molecular dynamics simulations, elastic x-ray, and inelastic neutron scattering experiments. The quantities that are compared between simulation and experiment include static and dynamic structure factors, reciprocal space mappings, and electron density profiles. We show that the simultaneous use of molecular dynamics and diffraction data can help to extract real space properties like the area per lipid and the lipid chain ordering from experimental data. In addition, we assert that the interchain distance can be computed to high accuracy from the interchain correlation peak of the structure factor. Moreover, it is found that the position of the interchain correlation peak is not affected by the area per lipid, while its correlation length decreases linearly with the area per lipid. This finding allows us to relate a property of the structure factor quantitatively to the area per lipid. Finally, the short wavelength dynamics obtained from the simulations and from inelastic neutron scattering are analyzed and compared. The conventional interpretation in terms of the three-effective-eigenmode model is found to be only partly suitable to describe the complex fluid dynamics of lipid chains.

Biophysical Journal
Jochen Hub
Jochen Hub
Professor of Computational Biophysics