Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Realistic simulation of ion flux through membrane sheds light on antibiotic resistance

Date:
August 19, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study describes an innovative new computational model that realistically simulates the complex conditions found in biological systems and allows for a more accurate look at ion channel function at the level of individual atoms. The research provides a remarkably detailed look at the function of a bacterial channel that kills brain cells in people with bacterial meningitis and provides insight into mechanisms that underlie deadly antibiotic resistance.

As the gatekeepers of ion flow through cell membranes, ion channels are of key interest in numerous cellular processes. Now, a new study describes an innovative new computational model that realistically simulates the complex conditions found in biological systems and allows for a more accurate look at ion channel function at the level of individual atoms.

The research, published in the August 17th issue of the Biophysical Journal, provides a remarkably detailed look at the function of a bacterial channel that kills brain cells in people with bacterial meningitis and provides insight into mechanisms that underlie deadly antibiotic resistance.

"Ion channels play an essential role in cellular homeostasis and signaling," says senior study author, Dr. Ulrich Zachariae, from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. "The study of their function is crucial both for an understanding of intercellular communication and to develop drugs against a plethora of channel-induced diseases." By developing a new computational model, Dr. Zachariae and colleagues were able to directly simulate ion flux through membrane channels under conditions that closely resembled those experienced by living cells.

The researchers used their new method to study PorB, a bacterial channel that is formed by pathogenic Neisseria meningitidis. PorB inserts into the membranes of key intracellular structures in the infected host brain cells and causes them to die. The new approach enabled Dr. Zachariae's group to study detailed molecular mechanisms of ion flux through PorB and to explore the effects of specific mutations on ion passage through the channel. This is medically relevant because these deadly bacteria are quick to develop antibiotic resistance by mutating the PorB channel, which is also the main entrance gate into the bacteria, so that common antibiotics no longer fit through the channel. "A major goal of our research is to determine how common antibiotics should be modified to again pass through bacterial channels," explains Dr. Zachariae.

In summary, the new approach allowed for an extraordinarily meticulous look at ion channel function. "We showed that our method accurately predicted ion conductance and selectivity and elucidated ion conduction mechanisms in great detail," concludes Dr. Zachariae. "Thus we expect it to be useful for studies of the molecular mechanisms of ion passage, such as for the improvement of drug design against ion channel targets like PorB. Results from such studies may prove to be crucial for a large group of dangerous bacterial infections which develop more and more resistance against antibiotics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carsten Kutzner, Helmut Grubmόller, Bert L. de Groot, Ulrich Zachariae. Computational Electrophysiology: The Molecular Dynamics of Ion Channel Permeation and Selectivity in Atomistic Detail. Biophysical Journal, August 2011; 101(4) pp. 809 - 817

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Realistic simulation of ion flux through membrane sheds light on antibiotic resistance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816121422.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, August 19). Realistic simulation of ion flux through membrane sheds light on antibiotic resistance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816121422.htm
Cell Press. "Realistic simulation of ion flux through membrane sheds light on antibiotic resistance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816121422.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins