We performed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations studying the partition of ions and the ionic current through the bacterial porin OmpF and two selected mutants. The study is motivated by new, interesting experimental findings concerning their selectivity and conductance behavior at neutral pH. The mutations considered here are designed to study the effect of removal of negative charges present in the constriction zone of the wild-type OmpF channel (which contains, on one side, a cluster with three positive residues, and on the other side, two negatively charged residues). Our results show that these mutations induce an exclusion of cations from the constriction zone of the channel, substantially reducing the flow of cations. In fact, the partition of ions inside the mutant channels is strongly inhomogeneous, with regions containing an excess of cations and regions containing an excess of anions. Interestingly, the overall number of cations inside the channel is larger than the number of anions, this excess being different for each protein channel. We found that the differences in ionic charge inside these channels are justified by the differences in electric charge between the wild-type OmpF and the mutants, following an electroneutral balance. © 2010 by the Biophysical Society.
|Publication status||Published - 6 Oct 2010|