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Gramicidin channel selectivity. Molecular mechanics calculations for formamidinium, guanidinium, and acetamidinium

, : Gramicidin channel selectivity. Molecular mechanics calculations for formamidinium, guanidinium, and acetamidinium. Biophysical Journal 63(1): 152-161

Empirical energy function calculations were used to evaluate the effects of minimization on the structure of a gramicidin A channel and to analyze the energies of interaction between three cations (guanidinium, acetamidinium, formamidinium) and the channel as a function of position along the channel axis. The energy minimized model of the gramicidin channel, which was based on the results of Venkatachalam and Urry (1983), has a constriction at the channel entrance. If the channel is not allowed to relax in the presence of the ions (rigid model), there is a large potential energy barrier for all three cations. The barrier varies with cation size and is due to high van der Waals and ion deformation energies. If the channel is minimized in the presence of the ions, the potential energy barrier to formamidinium entry is almost eliminated, but a residual barrier remains for guanidinium and acetamidinium. The residual barrier is primarily due, not to the expansion of the helix, but, to the disruption of hydrogen bonds between the terminal ethanoloamine and the next turn of the helix which occurs when the carbonyls of the outer turn of the helix librate inward toward the ion as it enters the channel. The residual potential energy barriers could be a possible explanation for the measured selectivity of gramicidin for formamidinium over guanidinium. The results of this full-atomic model address the applicability of the size-exclusion concept for the selectivity of the gramicidin channel.


PMID: 1384733

DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3495(92)81574-6

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