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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 20;104(12):4898-903. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Accurate, conformation-dependent predictions of solvent effects on protein ionization constants.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3206, USA.


Predicting how aqueous solvent modulates the conformational transitions and influences the pKa values that regulate the biological functions of biomolecules remains an unsolved challenge. To address this problem, we developed FDPB_MF, a rotamer repacking method that exhaustively samples side chain conformational space and rigorously calculates multibody protein-solvent interactions. FDPB_MF predicts the effects on pKa values of various solvent exposures, large ionic strength variations, strong energetic couplings, structural reorganizations and sequence mutations. The method achieves high accuracy, with root mean square deviations within 0.3 pH unit of the experimental values measured for turkey ovomucoid third domain, hen lysozyme, Bacillus circulans xylanase, and human and Escherichia coli thioredoxins. FDPB_MF provides a faithful, quantitative assessment of electrostatic interactions in biological macromolecules.

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