Effect of galactosylceramide on the dynamics of cholesterol-rich lipid membranes

Anette Hall, Tomasz Róg, Ilpo Vattulainen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We use atom-scale molecular dynamics simulations to clarify the role of glycosphingolipids in the dynamics of cholesterol-rich lipid rafts. To this end, we consider lipid membranes that contain varying amounts of galactosylceramide (GalCer), sphingomyelin, cholesterol, and phosphatidylcholine. The results indicate that increasing the portion of GalCer molecules greatly slows down the lateral diffusion. Only 5-10 mol % of GalCer causes a decrease of almost an order of magnitude compared to corresponding membranes without GalCer. The slowing down is not related to interdigitation, which becomes weaker with increasing GalCer concentration. Instead, the decrease in diffusion is found to correlate with the increasing number of hydrogen bonds formed between GalCer and the phospholipid molecules, which is also observed to have other effects, such as to increase the friction between the membrane leaflets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14424-14434
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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