Water Orientation at Ceramide/Water Interfaces Studied by Heterodyne-Detected Vibrational Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy and Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Aniruddha Adhikari, Suyong Re, Wataru Nishima, Mohammed Ahmed, Satoshi Nihonyanagi, Jeffery B. Klauda, Yuji Sugita, Tahei Tahara

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12 Scopus citations


Lipid/water interaction is essential for many biological processes. The water structure at the nonionic lipid interface remains little known, and there is no scope of a priori prediction of water orientation at nonionic interfaces, either. Here, we report our study combining advanced nonlinear spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulation on the water orientation at the ceramide/water interface. We measured χ spectrum in the OH stretch region of ceramide/isotopically diluted water interface using heterodyne-detected vibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopy and found that the interfacial water prefers an overall hydrogen-up orientation. Molecular dynamics simulation indicates that this preferred hydrogen-up orientation of water is determined by a delicate balance between hydrogen-up and hydrogen-down orientation induced by lipid-water and intralipid hydrogen bonds. This mechanism also suggests that water orientation at neutral lipid interfaces depends highly on the chemical structure of the lipid headgroup, in contrast to the charged lipid interfaces where the net water orientation is determined solely by the charge of the lipid headgroup.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23692-23697
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 10 2016
Externally publishedYes

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