Transient ordered domains in single-component phospholipid bilayers
Research output: Scientific - peer-review › Article
We report evidence of dense, ordered nanodomains in single-component fluid lipid bilayers. Our atomic-scale molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the area available to a lipid acyl chain exhibits large fluctuations, resulting in denser and sparser domains. The sizes of the dense domains can be up to ∼10 nm, and their lifetimes are of the order of ∼10 ns. In addition, our simulations suggest that domains of lipids with highly ordered acyl chains form predominantly within the dense regions, their sizes ranging from a few chains up to a few nanometers, and with lifetimes between ∼10 ps–10 ns. These observations shed light on the origin of experimentally observed fluctuations, as well as on the mechanisms of phase transitions in lipid membranes.