Numerical simulation of ion transport through ion channels and solid-state nanopores

Berti, Claudio (2011) Numerical simulation of ion transport through ion channels and solid-state nanopores, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Tecnologie dell'informazione, 23 Ciclo.
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Ion channels are pore-forming proteins that regulate the flow of ions across biological cell membranes. Ion channels are fundamental in generating and regulating the electrical activity of cells in the nervous system and the contraction of muscolar cells. Solid-state nanopores are nanometer-scale pores located in electrically insulating membranes. They can be adopted as detectors of specific molecules in electrolytic solutions. Permeation of ions from one electrolytic solution to another, through a protein channel or a synthetic pore is a process of considerable importance and realistic analysis of the main dependencies of ion current on the geometrical and compositional characteristics of these structures are highly required. The project described by this thesis is an effort to improve the understanding of ion channels by devising methods for computer simulation that can predict channel conductance from channel structure. This project describes theory, algorithms and implementation techniques used to develop a novel 3-D numerical simulator of ion channels and synthetic nanopores based on the Brownian Dynamics technique. This numerical simulator could represent a valid tool for the study of protein ion channel and synthetic nanopores, allowing to investigate at the atomic-level the complex electrostatic interactions that determine channel conductance and ion selectivity. Moreover it will provide insights on how parameters like temperature, applied voltage, and pore shape could influence ion translocation dynamics. Furthermore it will help making predictions of conductance of given channel structures and it will add information like electrostatic potential or ionic concentrations throughout the simulation domain helping the understanding of ion flow through membrane pores.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Berti, Claudio
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
brownian dynamics ion channel nanopores simulator electrolytes
Data di discussione
15 Aprile 2011

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