Title

Molecular Structure of Sphingomyelin in Fluid Phase Bilayers Determined by the Joint Analysis of Small-Angle Neutron and X-ray Scattering Data

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-25-2020

Publication Title

Journal of Physical Chemistry B

Volume

124

Issue

25

First Page

5186

Last Page

5200

DOI

10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c03389

Abstract

Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. We have determined the fluid bilayer structure of palmitoyl sphingomyelin (PSM) and stearoyl sphingomyelin (SSM) by simultaneously analyzing small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering data. Using a newly developed scattering density profile (SDP) model for sphingomyelin lipids, we report structural parameters including the area per lipid, total bilayer thickness, and hydrocarbon thickness, in addition to lipid volumes determined by densitometry. Unconstrained all-atom simulations of PSM bilayers at 55 °C using the C36 CHARMM force field produced a lipid area of 56 Å2, a value that is 10% lower than the one determined experimentally by SDP analysis (61.9 Å2). Furthermore, scattering form factors calculated from the unconstrained simulations were in poor agreement with experimental form factors, even though segmental order parameter (SCD) profiles calculated from the simulations were in relatively good agreement with SCD profiles obtained from NMR experiments. Conversely, constrained area simulations at 61.9 Å2 resulted in good agreement between the simulation and experimental scattering form factors, but not with SCD profiles from NMR. We discuss possible reasons for the discrepancies between these two types of data that are frequently used as validation metrics for molecular dynamics force fields.

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