Lipid properties and the orientation of aromatic residues in OmpF, influenza M2, and alamethicin systems: molecular dynamics simulations.


Molecular dynamics simulations allow a direct study of the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins and lipids. We describe the behavior of aromatic residues and lipid properties in POPE and POPC bilayer models with the Escherichia coli OmpF trimer, single alamethicin and Influenza M2 helices, 4-helix M2 bundles, and two alamethicin 6-helix channel models. The total simulation time is over 24 ns, of systems containing solvent, protein, and between 104 and 318 lipids. Various types of adjustment between lipids and proteins occur, depending on the size of the protein and the degree of hydrophobic mismatch between lipid and protein. Single helices cause little measurable effect on nearby lipids whereas the 4-helix bundles, 6-helix channel models, and OmpF cause a significant lowering of order parameters in nearby lipid chains, an increased difference between odd and even chain dihedrals in the magnitude of the trans dihedral fractions and dihedral transition rates, and in most cases a decreased gauche population and a decrease in bilayer thickness. An increased tilt of the lipid chains near the proteins can account for most of the observed decrease in order parameters. The orientation of tryptophans and tyrosines on the outside of the proteins is determined by packing at the protein exterior and non-specific hydrogen bonding with lipids and solvent. The tyrosines in the broad bands that delimit the hydrophobic exterior of OmpF show little change in orientation over one nanosecond. Their rings are oriented predominantly perpendicular to the bilayer plane, with the hydroxyl group pointing toward the lipid-water interface. Phenylalanines in OmpF, alamethicin, and Influenza M2 are more mobile and assume a variety of orientations.


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