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Structural properties of water confined by phospholipid membranes
Martelli, Fausto; Ko, H.-Y.; Calero Borrallo, Carles; Franzese, Giancarlo
Universitat de Barcelona
Biological membranes are essential for cell life and hydration. Water provides the driving force for the assembly and stability of many cell components. Here, we study the structural properties of water in a phospholipid membrane. We characterize the local structures, inspecting the intermediate range order (IRO) and adopting a sensitive local order metric recently proposed by Martelli et al. that measures and grades the degree of overlap of the local environment with the structures of perfect ice. Close to the membrane, water acquires a high IRO and changes its dynamical properties; i.e., its translational and rotational degrees of freedom slow in a region that extends over ≃ 1 nm from the membrane interface. Surprisingly, we show that at distances as far as ≃ 2.5 nm from the interface, although the bulk-like dynamics are recovered, the IRO of water is still slightly higher than that in the bulk under the same thermodynamic conditions. Therefore, the water-membrane interface has a structural effect at ambient conditions that propagates further than the often-invoked 1-nm length scale. Consequently, this should be considered when analyzing experimental data of water confined by membranes and could help us to understand the role of water in biological systems.
Membranes (Biologia)
Membranes (Biology)
(c) Springer Verlag, 2017
Springer Verlag

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