Talk, Jing Zhou
Nov 21, 2016
from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
|Where||2040, third floor classroom|
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Permeability of Mercury-Containing Complexes Through a Model Bacterial Inner Membrane
Mercury is a global pollutant that exists naturally in the environment in various forms. All forms of Hg are toxic, but the degree of toxicity varies depending on the particular form of mercury. The most toxic form of mercury is organic mercury, e.g. methylmercury ([CH3Hg]+). Methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cross the blood-brain barrier and primarily targets the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Although substantial effort has been made to understand the solution-phase dynamics of Hg species and the partitioning of amino acids into heterogeneous lipid membranes, to our knowledge the changes in membrane permeability of cysteine upon Hg(II) or MeHg complexation have not been investigated. The mechanisms of passive uptake and export of Hg-containing species remain unclear, and experimental studies on passive transport are very limited. In this work, we perform MD simulations to estimate the relative free energy cost of distributing Hg compounds from solution into a membrane bilayer, and we reveal the thermodynamic driving force behind the observed distribution patterns.