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J Phys Chem B. 2011 Dec 15;115(49):14668-82. doi: 10.1021/jp208184e. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Water-exclusion and liquid-structure forces in implicit solvation.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Modeling, DCB/CIT, National Institutes of Health, US DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, United States.


A continuum model of solvation is proposed to describe (i) long-range electrostatic effects of water exclusion resulting from incomplete and anisotropic hydration in crowded environments and (ii) short-range effects of liquid-structure forces on the hydrogen-bond interactions at solute/water interfaces. The model is an extension of the phenomenological screened coulomb potential-based implicit model of solvation. The developments reported here allow a more realistic representation of highly crowded and spatially heterogeneous environments, such as those in the interior of a living cell. Only the solvent is treated as a continuum medium. It is shown that the electrostatic effects of long-range water-exclusion can strongly affect protein-protein binding energies and are then related to the thermodynamics of complex formation. Hydrogen-bond interactions modulated by the liquid structure at interfaces are calibrated based on systematic calculations of potentials of mean force in explicit water. The electrostatic component of the model is parametrized for monovalent, divalent and trivalent ions. The conceptual and practical aspects of the model are discussed based on simulations of protein complexation and peptide folding. The current implementation is ~1.5 times slower than the gas-phase force field and exhibits good parallel performance.

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