Send to

Choose Destination
Biophys J. 2006 Oct 15;91(8):2815-25. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Partitioning of anesthetics into a lipid bilayer and their interaction with membrane-bound peptide bundles.

Author information

Department of Chemistry and Center for Molecular Modeling, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to investigate the partitioning of the volatile anesthetic halothane from an aqueous phase into a coexisting hydrated bilayer, composed of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) lipids, with embedded alpha-helical peptide bundles based on the membrane-bound portions of the alpha- and delta-subunits, respectively, of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. In the molecular dynamics simulations halothane molecules spontaneously partitioned into the DOPC bilayer and then preferentially occupied regions close to lipid headgroups. A single halothane molecule was observed to bind to tyrosine (Tyr-277) residue in the alpha-subunit, an experimentally identified specific binding site. The binding of halothane attenuated the local loop dynamics of alpha-subunit and significantly influenced global concerted motions suggesting anesthetic action in modulating protein function. Steered molecular dynamics calculations on a single halothane molecule partitioned into a DOPC lipid bilayer were performed to probe the free energy profile of halothane across the lipid-water interface and rationalize the observed spontaneous partitioning. Partitioned halothane molecules affect the hydrocarbon chains of the DOPC lipid, by lowering of the hydrocarbon tilt angles. The anesthetic molecules also caused a decrease in the number of peptide-lipid contacts. The observed local and global effects of anesthetic binding on protein motions demonstrated in this study may underlie the mechanism of action of anesthetics at a molecular level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center