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J Phys Chem A. 2011 Apr 28;115(16):4042-53. doi: 10.1021/jp110373f. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

Conformational relaxation and water penetration coupled to ionization of internal groups in proteins.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, United States. ad@jhu.edu

Abstract

Molecular dynamics simulations were used to examine the effects of ionization of internal groups on the structures of eighteen variants of staphylococcal nuclease (SNase) with internal Lys, Asp, or Glu. In most cases the RMSD values of internal ionizable side chains were larger when the ionizable moieties were charged than when they were neutral. Calculations of solvent-accessible surface area showed that the internal ionizable side chains were buried in the protein interior when they were neutral and moved toward crevices and toward the protein-water interface when they were charged. The only exceptions are Lys-36, Lys-62, and Lys-103, which remained buried even after charging. With the exception of Lys-38, the number of internal water molecules surrounding the ionizable group increased upon charging: the average number of water oxygen atoms within the first hydration shell increased by 1.7 for Lys residues, by 5.2 for Asp residues, and by 3.2 for Glu residues. The polarity of the microenvironment of the ionizable group also increased when the groups were charged: the average number of polar atoms of any kind within the first hydration shell increased by 2.7 for Lys residues, by 4.8 for Asp residues, and by 4.0 for Glu residues. An unexpected correlation was observed between the absolute value of the shifts in pK(a) values measured experimentally, and several parameters of structural relaxation: the net difference in the polarity of the microenvironment of the charged and neutral forms of the ionizable groups, the net difference in hydration of the charged and neutral forms of the ionizable groups, and the difference in RMSD values of the charged and neutral forms of the ionizable groups. The effects of ionization of internal groups on the conformation of the backbone were noticeable but mostly small and localized to the area immediately next to the internal ionizable moiety. Some variants did exhibit local unfolding.

PMID:
21428436
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3373309
Free PMC Article
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