Water and Lipid Bilayers
Water is crucial to the structure and function of biological membranes. In fact, the membrane’s basic structural unit, i.e. the lipid bilayer, is self-assembled and stabilized by the so-called hydrophobic effect, whereby lipid molecules unable to hydrogen bond with water aggregate in order to prevent their hydrophobic portions from being exposed to water. However, this is just the beginning of the lipid-bilayer-water relationship. This mutual interaction defines vesicle stability in solution, controls small molecule permeation, and defines the spacing between lamella in multi-lamellar systems, to name a few examples. This chapter will describe the structural and dynamical properties central to these, and other water- lipid bilayer interactions.
KeywordsPermeation Water distribution Dynamics
Support for the authors was received from the Department of Energy (DOE), Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) through Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. DOE under contract no. DE-AC05-00OR2275. JDN was partially supported through EPSCoR grant no. DEFG02-08ER46528.
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