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In silico studies of the interactions between propofol and fentanyl using Gaussian accelerated molecular dynamics

Faulkner, Christopher and de Leeuw, Nora H. 2020. In silico studies of the interactions between propofol and fentanyl using Gaussian accelerated molecular dynamics. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics 10.1080/07391102.2020.1814415

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Fentanyl is a potent opioid analgesic, which for decades has been used routinely in surgical and therapeutic applications. In addition to its analgesic properties, fentanyl also possesses anesthetic properties, which are not well understood. Fentanyl is used in the general anesthesia process to induce and maintain anesthesia in combination with the general anesthetic propofol, which fentanyl is known to potentiate. As the atomic-level mechanism behind the potentiation of propofol is unclear, we have used classical molecular dynamics simulations to study the interactions of these drugs with the Gloeobacter violaceus ion channel (GLIC). This ion channel has been identified as a target for many anesthetic drugs. We identified multiple binding sites using flooding style and Gaussian accelerated molecular dynamics (GaMD) simulations, showing fentanyl acting as a stabiliser that holds propofol within binding sites. Our extensive GaMD simulations were also able to show the pathway by which propofol blocks the channel pore, which has previously been suggested as a mechanism for ion channel modulation. General anesthesia is a multi-drug process and this study provides the first insight into the interactions between two different drugs in the anesthesia process in a relevant biological environment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0739-1102
Funders: EPSRC and AWE
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 August 2020
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2020 09:30

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