Department of Chemistry, Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
The interactions between lipids and proteins are crucial for a range of biological processes, from the folding and stability of membrane proteins to signaling and metabolism facilitated by lipid-binding proteins. However, high-resolution structural details concerning functional lipid/protein interactions are scarce due to barriers in both experimental isolation of native lipid-bound complexes and subsequent biophysical characterization. The molecular dynamics (MD) simulation approach provides a means to complement available structural data, yielding dynamic, structural, and thermodynamic data for a protein embedded within a physiologically realistic, modelled lipid environment. In this chapter, we provide a guide to current methods for setting up and running simulations of membrane proteins and soluble, lipid-binding proteins, using standard atomistically detailed representations, as well as simplified, coarse-grained models. In addition, we outline recent studies that illustrate the power of the simulation approach in the context of biologically relevant lipid/protein interactions.