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The physical mechanisms underlying the transport of ions across a model potassium channel are described. The shape of the model channel corresponds closely to that deduced from crystallography. From electrostatic calculations, we show that an ion permeating the channel, in the absence of any residual charges, encounters an insurmountable energy barrier(More)
We test the validity of the mean-field approximation in Poisson-Nernst-Planck theory by contrasting its predictions with those of Brownian dynamics simulations in schematic cylindrical channels and in a realistic potassium channel. Equivalence of the two theories in bulk situations is demonstrated in a control study. In simple cylindrical channels,(More)
The mechanisms underlying ion transport and selectivity in calcium channels are examined using electrostatic calculations and Brownian dynamics simulations. We model the channel as a rigid structure with fixed charges in the walls, representing glutamate residues thought to be responsible for ion selectivity. Potential energy profiles obtained from(More)
We present a method for calculation of electric forces in biological channels, which facilitates microscopic modeling of ion transport in channels using computer simulation. The method is based on solving Poisson's equation on a grid and storing the electric potential and field for various configurations in a table. During simulations, the potential and(More)
Molecular dynamics simulations are carried out to obtain estimates of diffusion coefficients of biologically important Na+, K+, Ca2+ and Cl- ions in hydrophobic cylindrical channels with varying radii and large reservoirs. Calculations for the cylindrical channels are compared to those for the KcsA potassium channel, for which the protein structure has(More)
Brownian dynamics simulations have been carried out to study ionic currents flowing across a model membrane channel under various conditions. The model channel we use has a cylindrical transmembrane segment that is joined to a catenary vestibule at each side. Two cylindrical reservoirs connected to the channel contain a fixed number of sodium and chloride(More)
Using the experimentally determined KcsA structure as a template, we propose a plausible explanation for the diversity of potassium channels seen in nature. A simplified model of KcsA is constructed from its atomic resolution structure by smoothing out the protein-water boundary and representing the atoms forming the channel protein as a homogeneous, low(More)
The structural, dynamical, and thermodynamic properties of a model potassium channel are studied using molecular dynamics simulations. We use the recently unveiled protein structure for the KcsA potassium channel from Streptomyces lividans. Total and free energy profiles of potassium and sodium ions reveal a considerable preference for the larger potassium(More)
Continuum theories of electrolytes are widely used to describe physical processes in various biological systems. Although these are well-established theories in macroscopic situations, it is not clear from the outset that they should work in small systems whose dimensions are comparable to or smaller than the Debye length. Here, we test the validity of the(More)