A previously developed molecular level model for homogeneous lipid bilayers [Brannigan and Brown, J. Chem. Phys 120, 1059 (2004)] is extended to allow for multiple lipid species. Monte Carlo simulations (including species exchange moves for efficient sampling) reveal a variety of mixing behaviors in binary systems. Two species are identified that maintain stable, randomly mixed fluid membranes at vanishing tension over all possible binary compositions. The thermal and elastic properties of membranes formed by these lipids are characterized over the full composition range. Equilibrium area at constant tension is nonmonotonic with respect to composition, but consistent with that of a quadratic mixture. In the constant tension ensemble, the bending rigidity of the bilayer is minimized at an intermediate composition. The observed functional form of bending rigidity vs composition is fit to a simple expression motivated by linear elasticity theory; this expression accounts for membrane heterogeneity through a single parameter.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry