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Keywords:

  • permeation model;
  • saccharide-aromatics interactions;
  • saccharide binding sites;
  • specific membrane channel;
  • X-ray structure

Abstract

The crystal structure of the maltodextrin-specific porin from Salmonella typhimurium ligated with a maltotrioside at the pore eyelet is known at 2.4 Å resolution. The three glucose units assume a conformation close to the natural amylose helix. The pore eyelet fits exactly the cross-section of a maltooligosaccharide chain and thus functions as a constraining orifice. The oligomer permeates the membrane by screwing along the amylose helix through this orifice. Because each glucose glides along the given helix, its interactions can be sampled at any point along the pathway. The interactions are mostly hydrogen bonds, but also contacts to aromatic rings at one side of the pore. We have derived the energy profile of a gliding maltooligosaccharide by following formation and breakage of hydrogen bonds and by assessing the saccharide-aromatics interactions from a statistical analysis of saccharide binding sites in proteins. The resulting profile indicates smooth permeation despite extensive hydrogen bonding at the orifice.