Publication #78: the role of water in membrane fusion

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The research team at Folding@home recently published the 78th peer reviewed paper to be produced using the project's work, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The paper, entitled "Water Ordering at Membrane Interfaces Controls Fusion Dynamics" is the result of a collaboration between Peter Kasson (University of Virginia), Erik Lindahl (University of Stockholm and the Royal Institute of Technology), and Vijay Pande, of Stanford University.

The ordering of molecules at the interface controls the dynamics of membrane fusion.

Based on previous simulations of membrane fusion, the Folding@home team used the network to systematically analyze the fusion reaction between two cells, and specifically the role of water in this reaction. To achieve a reasonable simulation time, many simulations use an implied model of water to save the processing time that would be required if the water molecules were explicitly modeled. In this simulation, the researchers have shown that water does in fact have a direct effect on both the thermodynamics and dynamics of the reaction. This has important consequences for future simulations of membrane fusion, and the researchers provided a further example of two flexible hydrophilic surfaces. This structure of water could be important in many cellular interactions.

For the record, the units that contributed to this paper were the BigAdv p268x series.

Source: JACS *

*Access to the paper is paid for the first year under the publishing agreement with JACS unfortunately. For those at academic institutions it may be worth checking if your university/college has paid for access to the site.