Theoretical and computational models of biological ion channels

Roux, Benoît and Allen, Toby and Bernèche, Simon and Im, Wonpil. (2004) Theoretical and computational models of biological ion channels. Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics, 37 (1). pp. 15-103.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249308

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The goal of this review is to establish a broad and rigorous theoretical framework to describe ion permeation through biological channels. This framework is developed in the context of atomic models on the basis of the statistical mechanical projection-operator formalism of Mori and Zwanzig. The review is divided into two main parts. The first part introduces the fundamental concepts needed to construct a hierarchy of dynamical models at different level of approximation. In particular, the potential of mean force (PMF) as a configuration-dependent free energy is introduced, and its significance concerning equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena is discussed. In addition, fundamental aspects of membrane electrostatics, with a particular emphasis on the influence of the transmembrane potential, as well as important computational techniques for extracting essential information from all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are described and discussed. The first part of the review provides a theoretical formalism to 'translate' the information from the atomic structure into the familiar language of phenomenological models of ion permeation. The second part is aimed at reviewing and contrasting results obtained in recent computational studies of three very different channels: the gramicidin A (gA) channel, which is a narrow one-ion pore (at moderate concentration), the KcsA channel from Streptomyces lividans, which is a narrow multi-ion pore, and the outer membrane matrix porin F (OmpF) from Escherichia coli, which is a trimer of three beta-barrel subunits each forming wide aqueous multi-ion pores. Comparison with experiments demonstrates that current computational models are approaching semi-quantitative accuracy and are able to provide significant insight into the microscopic mechanisms of ion conduction and selectivity. We conclude that all-atom MD with explicit water molecules can represent important structural features of complex biological channels accu
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Computational Biophysics (Bernèche)
UniBasel Contributors:Bernèche, Simon
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:14 Nov 2017 10:31
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:16

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