This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. The ultimate goal of our study is to understand the molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia. The immediate objective of our computational efforts is to elicit the molecular details of protein motions that are difficult to observe directly with experimental methods but are potentially crucial to the understanding of anesthetic actions on the channel proteins. We will focus on nAChRs that have been suggested to be potential targets for general anesthetics.
The specific aims for the study include (a) to perform large-scale MD simulations (10 ns or longer as needed, 3 repeats with different seeds) on open-channel structures of the (?1)2?1?? and the neuronal (?4)2(?2)3 and (?7)5 nAChRs in a fully hydrated membrane patch of 3:1:1 POPC:POPA:Cholesterol in the absence of anesthetics (control systems);(b) to identify anesthetic (halothane and isoflurane) interaction sites in the Torpedo (?1)2?1?? and the neuronal (?4)2(?2)3 and (?7)5 nAChRs in the open-channel state by performing flexible ligand docking and comparing with our own NMR data and with other published experimental results (e.g., mutagenesis and photoaffinity labeling);and (c) To repeat MD simulations parallel to (a) in the presence of the docked anesthetics. Hypotheses for the study: (1) anesthetics, being amphipathic, interact specifically with the interface between two adjacent TM2 subunits near the hydrophobic girdle in the aqueous pore and at the actuation points at EC-TM interface;(2) anesthetics mediate the hydrophobicity mismatch at one of the actuation points;(3) anesthetic effects are encoded as global changes at tertiary and quaternary structural level after extended MD equilibration;(4) anesthetic interaction with the actuation points at EC-TM interface alters the RMS fluctuation of the TM2 domains, and the interaction at the hydrophobic girdle within the pore profoundly affects the re-orientation of the hydrophobic side chains and the flickering of water passage.
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