Rotational Dynamics of Water at the Phospholipid Bilayer Depending on the Head Groups Studied by Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Yuji Higuchi, Yuta Asano, Takuya Kuwahara, Mafumi Hishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Hydration states are a crucial factor that affect the self-assembly and properties of soft materials and biomolecules. Although previous experiments have revealed that the hydration state strongly depends on the chemical structure of lipid molecules, the mechanisms at the molecular level remain unknown. Classical and density-functional tight-binding (DFTB) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are employed to determine the mechanisms underlying dissimilar water dynamics between lipid membranes with phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) head groups. The classical MD simulation shows that rotational relaxations of water are faster on the PE lipid than on the PC lipid, which is consistent with a previous experimental study using terahertz spectroscopy. Furthermore, DFTB-MD simulation of N(CH3)4+ and NH4+ ions, which correspond to the different head groups in PC and PE, respectively, shows qualitative agreement with the classical MD simulation. Remarkably, the PE lipids and the NH4+ ions break hydrogen bonds between water molecules in the secondary hydration shell. In contrast, the PC lipids and the N(CH3)4+ ions bind water molecules weakly in both the primary and secondary hydration shells and increase hydrogen bonds between water. Our atomistic simulations show that these changes in the hydrogen-bond network of water molecules cause the different rotational relaxation of water molecules between the two lipids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5329-5338
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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