All-Atom Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Protein Translocation through an α-Hemolysin Nanopore

Daniele Di Marino, Emma Letizia Bonome, Anna Tramontano, Mauro Chinappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


© 2015 American Chemical Society. Nanopore sensing is attracting the attention of a large and varied scientific community. One of the main issues in nanopore sensing is how to associate the measured current signals to specific features of the molecule under investigation. This is particularly relevant when the translocating molecule is a protein and the pore is sufficiently narrow to necessarily involve unfolding of the translocating protein. Recent experimental results characterized the cotranslocational unfolding of Thioredoxin (Trx) passing through an α-hemolisin pore, providing evidence for the existence of a multistep process. In this study we report the results of all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of the same system. Our data indicate that Trx translocation involves two main barriers. The first one is an unfolding barrier associated with a translocation intermediate where the N-terminal region of Trx is stuck at the pore entrance in a conformation that strongly resembles the native one. After the abrupt unfolding of the N-terminal region, the Trx enters the α-hemolisin vestibule. During this stage, the constriction is occupied not only by the translocating residue but also by a hairpin-like structure forming a tangle in the constriction. The second barrier is associated with the disentangling of this region.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2963-2968
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 16 2015
Externally publishedYes


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