Molecular dynamics simulations of the interaction of phospholipid bilayers with polycaprolactone
M Drenscko and SM Loverde, MOLECULAR SIMULATION, 45, 859-867 (2019).
The molecular interaction between common polymer chains and the cell membrane is unknown. Molecular dynamics simulations offer an emerging tool to characterise the nature of the interaction between common degradable polymer chains used in biomedical applications, such as polycaprolactone, and model cell membranes. Herein we characterise with all-atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations the interaction between single polycaprolactone chains of varying chain lengths with a phospholipid membrane. We find that the length of the polymer chain greatly affects the nature of interaction with the membrane, as well as the membrane properties. Furthermore, we next utilise advanced sampling techniques in molecular dynamics to characterise the two-dimensional free energy surface for the interaction of varying polymer chain lengths (short, intermediate, and long) with model cell membranes. We find that the free energy minimum shifts from the membrane-water interface to the hydrophobic core of the phospholipid membrane as a function of chain length. Finally, we perform coarse- grained molecular dynamics simulations of slightly larger membranes with polymers of the same length and characterise the results as compared with all-atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. These results can be used to design polymer chain lengths and chemistries to optimise their interaction with cell membranes at the molecular level.
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