We report here a detailed thermodynamic description of water molecules inside a biological water channel. Taking advantage of high-resolution molecular dynamics trajectories calculated for an aquaporin (AQP) channel, we compute the spatial translational and rotational components of water diffusion and entropy in AQP. Our results reveal that the spontaneous filling and entry of water into the pore in AQPs are driven by an entropic gain. Specifically, water molecules exhibit an elevated degree of rotational motion inside the pore, while their translational motion is slow compared with bulk. The partial charges of the lining asparagine residues at the conserved signature Asn-Pro-Ala motifs play a key role in enhancing rotational diffusion and facilitating dipole flipping of water inside the pore. The frequencies of the translational and rotational motions in the power spectra overlap indicating a strong coupling of these motions in AQPs. A shooting mechanism with diffusive behavior is observed in the extracellular region which might be a key factor in the fast conduction of water in AQPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083702
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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