Synthetic lipids and surfactants that do not exist in biological systems have been used for the last few decades in both basic and applied science. The most notable applications for synthetic lipids and surfactants are drug delivery, gene transfection, as reporting molecules, and as support for structural lipid biology. In this review, we describe the potential of the synergistic combination of computational and experimental methodologies to study the behavior of synthetic lipids and surfactants embedded in lipid membranes and liposomes. We focused on select cases in which molecular dynamics simulations were used to complement experimental studies aiming to understand the structure and properties of new compounds at the atomistic level. We also describe cases in which molecular dynamics simulations were used to design new synthetic lipids and surfactants, as well as emerging fields for the application of these compounds. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Biosimulations edited by Ilpo Vattulainen and Tomasz Róg.
The applications of synthetic lipids in applied and pure sciences are reviewed.