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Unassisted Transport of N-Acetyl-l-tryptophanamide through Membrane: Experiment and Simulation of Kinetics

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journal contribution
posted on 08.03.2012, 00:00 by Alfredo E. Cardenas, Gouri S. Jas, Kristine Y. DeLeon, Wendy A. Hegefeld, Krzysztof Kuczera, Ron Elber
Cellular transport machinery, such as channels and pumps, is working against the background of unassisted material transport through membranes. The permeation of a blocked tryptophan through a 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) membrane is investigated to probe unassisted or physical transport. The transport rate is measured experimentally and modeled computationally. The time scale measured by parallel artificial membrane permeation assay (PAMPA) experiments is ∼8 h. Simulations with the milestoning algorithm suggest mean first passage time (MFPT) of ∼4 h and the presence of a large barrier at the center of the bilayer. A similar calculation with the solubility-diffusion model yields a MFPT of ∼15 min. This permeation rate is 9 orders of magnitude slower than the permeation rate of only a tryptophan side chain (computed by us and others). This difference suggests critical dependence of transport time on permeant size and hydrophilicity. Analysis of the simulation results suggests that the permeant partially preserves hydrogen bonding of the peptide backbone to water and lipid molecules even when it is moving closer to the bilayer center. As a consequence, defects of the membrane structure are developed to assist permeation.