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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Jun 4;125(22):6636-7.

Thermodynamic contributions of the ordered water molecule in HIV-1 protease.

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Department of Chemistry, City College of CUNY, Convent Avenue and 138th Street, New York, NY 10031, USA.


Binding between biomolecules is usually accompanied by the formation of direct interactions with displacement of water from the binding sites. In some cases, however, the interactions are mediated by ordered water molecules, whose effect on binding affinity and the other thermodynamic functions is unclear. In this work, we compute the contribution of one such water molecule, the strongly bound water molecule at the binding site of HIV-1 protease, to the thermodynamic properties using statistical mechanical formulas for the energy and entropy. The requisite correlation functions are obtained by molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the entropic penalty of ordering is large but is outweighed by the favorable water-protein interactions. We also find a large negative contribution from this water molecule to the heat capacity. This approach could be useful in rational drug design by estimating which bound water molecules would be most favorable to displace.

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