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PeerJ. 2018 Jan 10;6:e4230. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4230. eCollection 2018.

Refining amino acid hydrophobicity for dynamics simulation of membrane proteins.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of New England, Portland, ME, United States of America.

Abstract

Coarse-grained (CG) models have been successful in simulating the chemical properties of lipid bilayers, but accurate treatment of membrane proteins and lipid-protein molecular interactions remains a challenge. The CgProt force field, original developed with the multiscale coarse graining method, is assessed by comparing the potentials of mean force for sidechain insertion in a DOPC bilayer to results reported for atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Reassignment of select CG sidechain sites from the apolar to polar site type was found to improve the attractive interfacial behavior of tyrosine, phenylalanine and asparagine as well as charged lysine and arginine residues. The solvation energy at membrane depths of 0, 1.3 and 1.7 nm correlates with experimental partition coefficients in aqueous mixtures of cyclohexane, octanol and POPC, respectively, for sidechain analogs and Wimley-White peptides. These experimental values serve as important anchor points in choosing between alternate CG models based on their observed permeation profiles, particularly for Arg, Lys and Gln residues where the all-atom OPLS solvation energy does not agree well with experiment. Available partitioning data was also used to reparameterize the representation of the peptide backbone, which needed to be made less attractive for the bilayer hydrophobic core region. The newly developed force field, CgProt 2.4, correctly predicts the global energy minimum in the potentials of mean force for insertion of the uncharged membrane-associated peptides LS3 and WALP23. CgProt will find application in studies of lipid-protein interactions and the conformational properties of diverse membrane protein systems.

KEYWORDS:

Bilayer permeation; Coarse-grained force field; Hydrophobicity scale; Membrane protein; Molecular dynamics simulation

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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