Molecular dynamics simulations of PfAQP from the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum

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Aquaporins (AQPs) are widely distributed in all kingdoms of life and act as facilitators in the transport of water and other small solutes through cell membranes. Since the plasmodial and human AQPs are different in their primary and secondary structure, an intervention targeting plasmodial AQP without affecting human AQPs is discussed to identify an attractive novel target against malaria. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the action mechanisms of these plasmodial AQPs. To explore the progression of the plasmodial real AQPs in vivo at work, a molecular dynamic simulation system was successfully developed for a PfAQP tetramer in silico. The results showed that the transporting work was not synchronous in the four channels at the same time, and that it was different at different times in the same channel. The hole sizes varied in different channels with time. The structure analysis showed that both hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues composed the inner surface of the channels, and the asparagines Asn-193 and Asn-70 assembled into two motifs of NLA and NPS in the center of the channel in place of the signature motifs of NPA in other AQPs. In brief, we successfully developed an equilibrated PfAQP-lipid system by molecular dynamics simulations, and investigated the structure of the PfAQP channel, which should aid our understanding of the AQP structure and its functional implications.




Cui, Y., & Bastien, D. A. (2012). Molecular dynamics simulations of PfAQP from the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Molecular Medicine Reports, 5(5), 1197–1201.

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