Diffusion of gases across lipid membranes with OmpA channel: a molecular dynamics study

HJ Yuan and CJ Jameson and S Murad, MOLECULAR PHYSICS, 108, 1569-1581 (2010).

DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2010.484396

Molecular transport across biological membranes occurs in a range of important chemical and biological processes. The biological membrane can usually be modelled as a phospholipid bilayer, but to correctly represent biological transport, the embedded transmembrane proteins must also be included. In previous molecular simulation studies on transport of small gas molecules in dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayer membrane, a coarse-grained model was used to provide direct insight into collective phenomena in biological membranes. Coarse graining allowed investigation of longer time and length scales by reducing the degrees of freedom and employing suitable potentials. In this work, membranes that include transmembrane proteins are modelled. This allows one to compare the molecular transport across a lipid membrane with and without the assistance of transmembrane channels. Outer membrane protein A (OmpA) - a porin from Escherichia coli with a small pore size - was chosen in this study because its detailed structure is known, it has high stability and is known to form a nonspecific diffusion channel that permits the penetration of various solutes. In this work the pore characteristics and interaction between lipid and protein were investigated and transport of water and other small gas molecules within the channel were studied. The MD simulation results obtained are compared with previous simulation results and available experimental data. The results obtained from this study will lead to better understanding of protein functionality and advance the development of biochips and drug delivery systems.

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