We develop and test specific coarse-grained models for charged amphiphilic systems such as palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylglycerol (POPG) lipid bilayer and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) surfactant in an aqueous environment, to verify the ability of the hybrid particle-field method to provide a realistic description of polyelectrolytes. According to the hybrid approach, the intramolecular interactions are treated by a standard molecular Hamiltonian, and the nonelectrostatic intermolecular forces are described by density fields. Electrostatics is introduced as an additional external field obtained by a modified particle-mesh Ewald procedure, as recently proposed [Zhu et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016, 18, 9799 ]. Our results show that, upon proper calibration of key parameters, electrostatic forces can be correctly reproduced. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the methodology is robust with respect to the choice of the relative dielectric constant, yielding the same correct qualitative behavior for a broad range of values. In particular, our methodology reproduces well the organization of the POPG bilayer, as well as the SDS concentration-dependent change in the morphology of the micelles from spherical to microtubular aggregates. The inclusion of explicit electrostatics with good accuracy and low computational cost paves the way for a significant extension of the hybrid particle-field method to biological systems, where the polyelectrolyte component plays a fundamental role for both structural and dynamical molecular properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry