A New Coarse-Grained Force Field for Membrane–Peptide Simulations
We present a new coarse-grained (CG) model for simulations of lipids and peptides. The model follows the same topology and parametrization strategy as the MARTINI force field but is based on our recently developed big multipole water (BMW) model for water (J. Phys. Chem. B2010, 114, 10524?10529). The new BMW-MARTINI force field reproduces many fundamental membrane properties and also yields improved energetics (when compared to the original MARTINI force-field) for the interactions between charged amino acids with lipid membranes, especially at the membrane?water interface. A stable attachment of cationic peptides (e.g., Arg8) to the membrane surface is predicted, consistent with experiment and in contrast to the MARTINI model. The model predicts electroporation when there is a charge imbalance across the lipid bilayer, an improvement over the original MARTINI. Moreover, the pore formed during electroporation is toroidal in nature, similar to the prediction of atomistic simulations but distinct from results of polarizable MARTINI for small charge imbalances. The simulations emphasize the importance of a reasonable description of the electrostatic properties of water in CG simulations. The BMW-MARTINI model is particularly suitable for describing interactions between highly charged peptides with lipid membranes, which is crucial to the study of antimicrobial peptides, cell penetrating peptides, and other proteins/peptides involved in the remodeling of biomembranes.