Polarization Effects in Water-Mediated Selective Cation Transport across a Narrow Transmembrane Channel.

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TitlePolarization Effects in Water-Mediated Selective Cation Transport across a Narrow Transmembrane Channel.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsNgo, V, Li, H, Mackerell, AD, Allen, TW, Roux, B, Noskov, S
JournalJ Chem Theory Comput
Date Published2021 Feb 04

Despite the progress in modeling complex molecular systems of ever-increasing complexity, a quantitatively accurate computational treatment of ion permeation through narrow membrane channels remains challenging. An important factor to reach this goal is induced electronic polarization, which is likely to impact the permeation rate of small ions through narrow molecular pores. In this work, we extended the recently developed polarizable force field based on the classical Drude oscillators to assess the role of induced polarization effects on the energetics of sodium and potassium ion transport across the gramicidin A (gA) ion channel. The inclusion of induced polarization lowers barriers present in 1D potential of mean force (PMF) for cation permeation by ∼50% compared to those obtained with the additive force field. Conductance properties calculated with 1D PMFs from Drude simulations are in better agreement with experimental results. Polarization of single-file water molecules and protein atoms forming the narrow pore has a direct impact on the free-energy barriers and cation-specific solid-state NMR chemical shifts. Sensitivity analysis indicates that small changes to water-channel interactions can alter the free energy barrier for ion permeation. These results, illustrating polarization effects present in the complex electrostatic environment of the gA channel, have broad implications for revising proposed mechanisms of ion permeation and selectivity in a variety of ion channels.

Alternate JournalJ Chem Theory Comput
PubMed ID33539082