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Biophys Chem. 2006 Dec 1;124(3):268-78. Epub 2006 Apr 6.

Diffusion constant of K+ inside Gramicidin A: a comparative study of four computational methods.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States.


The local diffusion constant of K(+) inside the Gramicidin A (GA) channel has been calculated using four computational methods based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, specifically: Mean Square Displacement (MSD), Velocity Autocorrelation Function (VACF), Second Fluctuation Dissipation Theorem (SFDT) and analysis of the Generalized Langevin Equation for a Harmonic Oscillator (GLE-HO). All methods were first tested and compared for K(+) in bulk water--all predicted the correct diffusion constant. Inside GA, MSD and VACF methods were found to be unreliable because they are biased by the systematic force exerted by the membrane-channel system on the ion. SFDT and GLE-HO techniques properly unbias the influence of the systematic force on the diffusion properties and predicted a similar diffusion constant of K(+) inside GA, namely, ca. 10 times smaller than in the bulk. It was found that both SFDT and GLE-HO methods require extensive MD sampling on the order of tens of nanoseconds to predict a reliable diffusion constant of K(+) inside GA.

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