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Enrofloxacin Permeation Pathways across the Porin OmpC

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journal contribution
posted on 06.01.2018 by Jigneshkumar Dahyabhai Prajapati, Carlos José Fernández Solano, Mathias Winterhalter, Ulrich Kleinekathöfer
In Gram-negative bacteria, the lack or quenching of antibiotic translocation across the outer membrane is one of the main factors for acquiring antibiotic resistance. An atomic-level comprehension of the key features governing the transport of drugs by outer-membrane protein channels would be very helpful in developing the next generation of antibiotics. In a previous study [J. D. Prajapati et al. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2017, 13, 4553], we characterized the diffusion pathway of a ciprofloxacin molecule through the outer membrane porin OmpC of Escherichia coli by combining metadynamics and a zero-temperature string method. Here, we evaluate the diffusion route through the OmpC porin for a similar fluoroquinolone, that is, the enrofloxacin molecule, using the previously developed protocol. As a result, it was found that the lowest-energy pathway was similar to that for ciprofloxacin; namely, a reorientation was required on the extracellular side with the carboxyl group ahead before enrofloxacin reached the constriction region. In turn, the free-energy basins for both antibiotics are located at similar positions in the space defined by selected reaction coordinates, and their affinity sites share a wide number of porin residues. However, there are some important deviations due to the chemical differences of these two drugs. On the one hand, a slower diffusion process is expected for enrofloxacin, as the permeation pathway exhibits higher overall energy barriers, mainly in the constriction region. On the other hand, enrofloxacin needs to replace some polar interactions in its affinity sites with nonpolar ones. This study demonstrates how minor chemical modifications can qualitatively affect the translocation mechanism of an antibiotic molecule.