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Biophys J. 2010 Sep 8;99(5):1611-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.06.027.

Modeling the hydration layer around proteins: HyPred.

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Department of Chemistry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Protein hydration plays an integral role in determining protein function and stability. We develop a simple method with atomic level precision for predicting the solvent density near the surface of a protein. A set of proximal radial distribution functions are defined and calculated for a series of different atom types in proteins using all-atom, explicit solvent molecular dynamic simulations for three globular proteins. A major improvement in predicting the hydration layer is found when the protein is held immobile during the simulations. The distribution functions are used to develop a model for predicting the hydration layer with sub-1-Angstrom resolution without the need for additional simulations. The model and the distribution functions for a given protein are tested in their ability to reproduce the hydration layer from the simulations for that protein, as well as those for other proteins and for simulations in which the protein atoms are mobile. Predictions for the density of water in the hydration shells are then compared with high occupancy sites observed in crystal structures. The accuracy of both tests demonstrates that the solvation model provides a basis for quantitatively understanding protein solvation and thereby predicting the hydration layer without additional simulations.

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