The structural properties of two- and three-component gel-phase bilayers were studied using molecular dynamics simulations. The bilayers contain distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC) phospholipids mixed with alcohols and/or fatty acids of varying tail lengths, with carbon chain lengths of 12, 16, and 24 studied. Changes in both headgroup chemistry and tail length are found to affect the balance between steric repulsion and van der Waals attraction within the bilayers, manifesting in different bilayer structural properties. Lipid components are found to be located at different depths within the bilayer depending on both chain length and headgroup chemistry. The highest bilayer ordering and lowest area per tail are found in systems with medium-length tails. While longer tails can enhance van der Waals attractions, the increased tail-length asymmetry is found to induce disorder and reduce tail packing. Bulkier headgroups further increase steric repulsion, as reflected in increased component offsets and reduced tail packing. These findings help explain how bilayer composition affects the structure of gel-phase bilayers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry