Table of Contents
International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry
Volume 2011, Article ID 950256, 9 pages
Review Article

Structure and Dynamics of Glycosphingolipids in Lipid Bilayers: Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations

1Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400 076, India
2Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Received 7 September 2010; Revised 3 January 2011; Accepted 14 February 2011

Academic Editor: Richard D. Cummings

Copyright © 2011 Ronak Y. Patel and Petety V. Balaji. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Glycolipids are important constituents of biological membranes, and understanding their structure and dynamics in lipid bilayers provides insights into their physiological and pathological roles. Experimental techniques have provided details into their behavior at model and biological membranes; however, computer simulations are needed to gain atomic level insights. This paper summarizes the insights obtained from MD simulations into the conformational and orientational dynamics of glycosphingolipids and their exposure, hydration, and hydrogen-bonding interactions in membrane environment. The organization of glycosphingolipids in raft-like membranes and their modulation of lipid membrane structure are also reviewed.