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The surface area per lipid is an important quantity useful in characterizing lipid bilayer structure and dynamics. However, simply dividing the flat surface area covered by the number of lipids does not give a sufficient characterization of surface dynamics in cases where parts of the lipid leaflets have curvaceous trajectories in three dimensions. An algorithm is proposed for modeling surface area per lipid using a three-dimensional tessellated grid. In this way both the vertical, as well as the more commonly considered the horizontal, fluctuations of lipids are used to accurately determine the area covered. This algorithm can reveal differences in dynamics between leaflets under different conditions that are otherwise invisible with a conventional flat surface study.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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David Milligan, Mathematics and Statistics

Sameer Varma, Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology

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Sameer Varma