Dynamic Interaction of Norfloxacin to Magnesium Monitored by Bacterial Outer Membrane Nanopores

The effect of divalent ions on the permeability of norfloxacin across the major outer membrane channels from E. coli (OmpF, OmpC) and E. aerogenes (Omp35, Omp36) has been investigated at the single channel level. To understand the rate limiting steps in permeation, we reconstituted single porin into planar lipid bilayers and analyzed the ion current fluctuations caused in the presence of norfloxacin. To obtain an atomistic view, we complemented the experiments with millisecond-long free energy calculations based on temperature-accelerated Brownian dynamics simulations to identify the most probable permeation pathways of the antibiotics through the respective pore. Both, experimental analysis and computational modelling, suggest that norfloxacin is able to permeate through the larger porins, i.e., OmpF, OmpC, and Omp35, whereas it only binds to the slightly narrower porin Omp36. Moreover, divalent ions can bind to negatively charged residues inside the porin, reversing the ion selectivity of the pore. In addition, the divalent ions can chelate with the fluoroquinolones and alter their physicochemical properties. The results suggest that the conjugation must break with either one of them when the antibiotics molecules bypass the lumen of the porin, with the conjugation to the antibiotic being more stable than that to the pore. In general, the permeation or binding process of fluoroquinolone in porins occurs irrespective of the presence of divalent ions, but the presences of divalent ions can vary the kinetics significantly.