The molecular mechanism of electroporation: changes in the hydrogen bonds

Electroporation has many technological applications in drug delivery and gene transfection. However, the molecular mechanism of electroporation is unknown. Thus, we propose for the first time that hydrogen bonds play a key role during electroporation based on molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry methods. The electric field affects the hydrogen-bonded network in the membrane system, which induces water molecules to pass through the membrane. Our findings reveal the mechanism of electroporation in atomic details and may have a potential application in controlling the permeability of cell membranes.

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