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Determination of Free Energy Profiles for the Translocation of Polynucleotides through alpha-Hemolysin Nanopores using Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Martin, HSC; Jha, S; Howorka, S; Coveney, PV; (2009) Determination of Free Energy Profiles for the Translocation of Polynucleotides through alpha-Hemolysin Nanopores using Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics Simulations. J CHEM THEORY COMPUT , 5 (8) 2135 - 2148. 10.1021/ct9000894.

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Abstract

The translocation of polynucleotides through transmembrane protein pores is a fundamental biological process with important technological and medical relevance. The translocation process is complex, and it is influenced by a range of factors including the diameter and inner surface of the pore, the secondary structure of the polymer, and the interactions between the polymer and protein, In this paper, we perform nonequilibrium constant velocity-steered molecular dynamics simulations of nucleic acid molecule translocation through the protein nanopore alpha-hemolysin and use Jarzynski's identity to determine the associated free energy profiles. With this approach we are able to explain the observed differences in experimental translocation time through the nanopore between polyadenosine and polydeoxycytidine. The translocation of polynucleotides and single nucleotides through a-hemolysin is investigated. These simulations are computationally intensive as they employ models with atomistic level resolution; in addition to their size, these systems are challenging to study due to the time scales of translocation of large asymmetric molecules, Our simulations provide insight into the role of the interactions between the nucleic acid molecules and the protein pore. Mutated protein pores provide confirmation of residue-specific interactions between nucleotides and the protein pore. By harnessing such molecular dynamics simulations, we gain new physicochemical insight into the translocation process.

Type:Article
Title:Determination of Free Energy Profiles for the Translocation of Polynucleotides through alpha-Hemolysin Nanopores using Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics Simulations
DOI:10.1021/ct9000894
Keywords:INDIVIDUAL DNA STRANDS, POLYADENYLIC-ACID, MEMBRANE CHANNEL, SINGLE, DISCRIMINATION, IDENTIFICATION, CONFORMATION, ORIENTATION, OLIGOMERS, EQUALITY
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Chemistry

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