Biological Membranes

A Molecular Perspective from Computation and Experiment

  • Kenneth M. MerzJr.
  • Benoît Roux

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Computational Issues Regarding Biomembrane Simulation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Richard W. Pastor, Scott E. Feller
      Pages 3-29
    3. Michael Schlenkrich, Jürgen Brickmann, Alexander D. MacKerell Jr., Martin Karplus
      Pages 31-81
    4. Eric Jakobsson, Shankar Subramaniam, H. Larry Scott
      Pages 105-123
  3. Experimental Probes of Biomembrane Structure and Dynamics

  4. Small Molecules and Peptides in Biomembranes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 253-253
    2. K. V. Damodaran, Kenneth M. Merz Jr.
      Pages 323-352
  5. Membrane Proteins

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 353-354
    2. Barbara A. Seaton, Mary F. Roberts
      Pages 355-403
    3. Thomas Heimburg, Derek Marsh
      Pages 405-462
    4. Ole G. Mouritsen, Paavo K. J. Kinnunen
      Pages 463-502
    5. Xiche Hu, Dong Xu, Kenneth Hamer, Klaus Schulten, Juergen Koepke, Hartmut Michel
      Pages 503-533
    6. Benoît Roux, Thomas B. Woolf
      Pages 555-587
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 589-592

About this book


The interface between a living cell and the surrounding world plays a critical role in numerous complex biological processes. Sperm/egg fusion, virus/cell fusion, exocytosis, endocytosis, and ion permeation are a few examples of processes involving membranes. In recent years, powerful tools such as X-ray crystal­ lography, electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and infra-red and Raman spectroscopy have been developed to characterize the structure and dy­ namics of biomembranes. Despite this progress, many of the factors responsible for the function of biomembranes are still not well understood. The membrane is a very complicated supramolecular liquid-crystalline structure that is largely composed of lipids, forming a bilayer, to which proteins and other biomolecules are anchored. Often, the lipid bilayer environment is pictured as a hydropho­ bic structureless slab providing a thermodynamic driving force to partition the amino acids of a membrane protein according to their solubility. However, much of the molecular complexity of the phospholipid bilayer environment is ignored in such a simplified view. It is likely that the atomic details of the polar head­ group region and the transition from the bulk water to the hydrophobic core of the membrane are important. An understanding of the factors responsible for the function of biomembranes thus requires a better characterization at the molec­ ular level of how proteins interact with lipid molecules, of how lipids affect protein structure and of how lipid molecules might regulate protein function.


Monte Carlo Termination biomembrane cell dynamics electron microscopy environment membrane microscopy peptides protein proteins simulation thermodynamics water

Editors and affiliations

  • Kenneth M. MerzJr.
    • 1
  • Benoît Roux
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Groupe de Recherche en Transport Membranaire (GRTM) Départements de physique et de chimieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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