Driving force for water permeation across lipid membranes

Baofu Qiao, Monica Olvera De La Cruz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The permeation of water across lipid membranes is of paramount importance in biological and technological processes. The driving force for such energetically unfavorable processes is explored here. To determine the effect of the lipid membrane conformation, water transport in both liquid-crystalline and ordered gel phases is studied in zwitterionic dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayers and anionic 1,2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphol-l-serine (DLPS) bilayers via atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. These phases are accessed by changing the temperature in DPPC membranes and by additionally changing the valency of counterions (i.e., Na+ and Zn2+) in DLPS membranes. The membrane conformation is found to play a critical function in water permeation, regardless of the type of lipid. The fluctuations in the potential energy are found to have a significant, if not the exclusive, role in the transportation of water across lipid membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3233-3237
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 3 2013


  • atomistic simulation
  • energy fluctuation
  • membrane conformation
  • passive permeation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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