A Brief History of Visualizing Membrane Systems in Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Understanding lipid dynamics and function, from the level of single, isolated molecules to large assemblies, is more than ever an intensive area of research. The interactions of lipids with other molecules, particularly membrane proteins, are now extensively studied. With advances in the development of force fields for molecular dynamics simulations (MD) and increases in computational resources, the creation of realistic and complex membrane systems is now common. In this perspective, we will review four decades of the history of molecular dynamics simulations applied to membranes and lipids through the prism of molecular graphics.

Using advanced computer graphics to make visually striking images (A) View of an influenza A virus rendered with VMD (Casalino et al., 2022).
Copyright American Chemical Society. (B) M. genitalium cell visualised with experimental data using ArtiaX (Ermel et al., 2022) (C) A membrane protein
embedded in a membrane created with Blender’s MolecularNodes plugin (Johnston, 2022) (D) An image of a complete mycoplasma cell created with
CellPAINT (Maritan et al., 2022).