Mixed Mechanism of Lubrication by Lipid Bilayer Stacks

A Botan and L Joly and N Fillot and C Loison, LANGMUIR, 31, 12197-12202 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b02786

Although the key role of lipid bilayer stacks in biological lubrication is generally accepted, the mechanisms underlying their extreme efficiency remain elusive. In this article, we report molecular dynamics simulations of lipid bilayer stacks undergoing load and shear. When the hydration level is reduced, the velocity accommodation mechanism changes from viscous shear in hydration water to interlayer sliding in the bilayers. This enables stacks of hydrated lipid bilayers to act as efficient boundary lubricants for various hydration conditions, structures, and mechanical loads. We also propose an estimation for the friction coefficient; thanks to the strong hydration forces between lipid bilayers, the high local viscosity is not in contradiction with low friction coefficients.

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