Theoretical design of the cyclic lipopeptide nanotube as a molecular channel in the lipid bilayer, molecular dynamics and quantum mechanics approach†
In this article, cyclic peptides (CP) with lipid substituents were theoretically designed. The dynamical behavior of the CP dimers and the cyclic peptide nanotube (CPNT) without lipid substituents in the solution (water and chloroform) during the 50 ns molecular dynamic (MD) simulations has been investigated. As a result, the CP dimers and CPNT in a non-polar solvent are more stable than in a polar solvent and CPNT is a good container for non-polar small molecules such as chloroform. The effect of the lipid substituents on the CP dimers and CPNT has been investigated in the next stage of our studies. Accordingly, these substituents increase the stability of the CP dimers and CPNT, significantly, in polar solvents. MM-PBSA and MM-GBSA calculations confirm that substitution has an important effect on the stability of the CP dimers and CPNT. Finally, the dynamical behavior of CPNT with lipid substituents in a fully hydrated DMPC bilayer shows the high ability of this structure for molecule transmission across the lipid membrane. This structure is stable enough to be used as a molecular channel. DFT calculations on the CP dimers in the gas phase, water and chloroform, indicate that H-bond formation is the driving force for dimerization. CP dimers are more stable in the gas phase in comparison to in solution. HOMO–LUMO orbital analysis indicates that the interaction of the CP units in the dimer structures is due to the molecular orbital interactions between the NH and CO groups.