Cholesterol surrogates: A comparison of cholesterol and 16:0 ceramide in POPC bilayers

Sagar A. Pandit, See Wing Chiu, Eric Jakobsson, Ananth Grama, H. L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experimental evidence indicates that, under some circumstances, "surrogate" molecules may play the same role as cholesterol in ordering membrane lipids. The simplest molecule in this class is Ceramide. In this article, we describe atomiclevel molecular dynamics simulations designed to shed light on this phenomenon. We run simulations of hydrated phosphoryloleoyl phosphatidylcholine (POPC) bilayers containing cholesterol, and containing ceramide, in concentrations ranging from 5% to 33%. We also perform a simulation of a pure POPC bilayer to verify the simulation force fields against experimental structural data for POPC. Our simulation data are in good agreement with experimental data for the partial molecular volumes, areas, form factors, and order parameters. These simulations suggest that ceramide and cholesterol have a very similar effect on the POPC bilayer, although ceramide is less effective in inducing order in the bilayer compared with cholesterol at the same concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-927
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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