Unraveling membrane properties at the organelle-level with LipidDyn

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Cellular membranes are formed from different lipids in various amounts and proportions depending on the subcellular localization. The lipid composition of membranes is sensitive to changes in the cellular environment, and its alterations are linked to several diseases. Lipids not only form lipid-lipid interactions but also interact with other biomolecules, including proteins. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are a powerful tool to study the properties of cellular membranes and membrane-protein interactions on different timescales and resolutions. Over the last few years, software and hardware for biomolecular simulations have been optimized to routinely run long simulations of large and complex biological systems. On the other hand, high-throughput techniques based on lipidomics provide accurate estimates of the composition of cellular membranes at the level of subcellular compartments. Lipidomic data can be analyzed to design biologically relevant models of membranes for MD simulations. Similar applications easily result in a massive amount of simulation data where the bottleneck becomes the analysis of the data. In this context, we developed LipidDyn, a Python-based pipeline to streamline the analyses of MD simulations of membranes of different compositions. Once the simulations are collected, LipidDyn provides average properties and time series for several membrane properties such as area per lipid, thickness, order parameters, diffusion motions, lipid density, and lipid enrichment/depletion. The calculations exploit parallelization, and the pipeline includes graphical outputs in a publication-ready form. We applied LipidDyn to different case studies to illustrate its potential, including membranes from cellular compartments and transmembrane protein domains. LipidDyn is available free of charge under the GNU General Public License from https://github.com/ELELAB/LipidDyn.

Journal details

Volume 20
Pages 3604-3614
Available online
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