Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Computational studies of transmembrane helix insertion and association
Author: Chetwynd, Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 6355
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Membrane proteins perform a variety of functions essential for the viability of the cell, including transport and signalling across the membrane. Most membrane proteins are formed from bundles of transmembrane helices. In this thesis molecular dynamics simulations have been used to investigate helix insertion into bilayers and helix association within bilayers. The potentials of mean force for the insertion of helices derived from the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator into lipid bilayers were calculated using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. The results showed that the insertion free energy increased with helix length and bilayer hydrophobic width. The insertion free energies obtained were significantly larger than comparable quantities obtained from translocon- mediated insertion experiments, consistent with a variety of previous studies. The implications of this observation for the interpretation of in vivo translocon-mediated insertion experiments, and the function of the translocon, are discussed. Coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of the transmembrane region of the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA1 suggested that the transmembrane helix dimer was most stable when interacting via the glycine zipper motif, in agreement with a structure obtained by NMR spectroscopy. Coarse-grained simulations of the transmembrane region of EphA2 suggested that the dimer has two stable orientations, interacting via a glycine zipper or a heptad motif. Both structures showed right-handed dimers, although an NMR structure of the transmembrane region of EphA2 shows a left-handed dimer interacting via the heptad motif. Both structures obtained from coarse-grained simulations proved unstable when simulated at an atomistic level of detail. The potentials of mean force for dissociating the EphA1 and EphA2 dimers were calcu- lated using coarse-grained molecular dynamics calculations. Convergence of the detailed structure of the profiles was not conclusively shown, although association free energies cal- culated from the profiles were consistent over a variety of simulation times. The association free energies were slightly larger than experimental values obtained for comparable sys- tems, but consistent with similar computational calculations previously reported. However, direct comparisons are difficult owing to the influence of environmental factors on reported association free energies. The potential of mean force profiles showed that the interaction via the glycine zipper motif for EphA1 was significantly more stable than any other confor- mation. For EphA2 the potential of mean force profiles suggested that interaction via the glycine zipper and heptad motifs both provided stable or metastable conformations, with the interaction via the glycine zipper motif probably at least as stable as that via the heptad motif.
Supervisor: Sansom, Mark Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computational biochemistry ; membrane proteins ; molecular dynamics ; potential of mean force ; transmembrane helix insertion