(379c) Effect of Trehalose on the Structure and Function of Aquaporin-1 Under Osmotic Stress from Molecular Simulation
Understanding how freezing-related stresses impact membrane behavior at the molecular level is key to developing next generation cryoprotectants and cryopreservation strategies for a number of applications, including organ banking and cold-tolerant agriculture. In this study, we used all-atom molecular dynamics to investigate how trehalose, a common cryoprotectant, interacts with an Aquaporin-1 tetramer embedded in a lipid bilayer. Specifically, we investigated this interaction under osmotic stress, a common cause of cell death in the presence of extracellular ice formation. To mimic osmotic stress, the system was modelled with two bilayers to form an extracellular and intracellular space where the concentration of ions and trehalose are easily varied. The effect of trehalose on the structure of the protein-membrane complex was then monitored, as well as its effect on the transport of water through the Aquaporin-1 complex.