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Free Energy Barriers for Escape of Water Molecules from Protein Hydration Layer

Roy, Susmita and Bagchi, Biman (2012) Free Energy Barriers for Escape of Water Molecules from Protein Hydration Layer. In: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 116 (9). pp. 2958-2968.

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Official URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp209437j


Free energy barriers separating interfacial water molecules from the hydration layer at the surface of a protein to the bulk are obtained by using the umbrella sampling method of free energy calculation. We consider hydration layer of chicken villin head piece (HP-36) which has been studied extensively by molecular dynamics simulations. The free energy calculations reveal a strong sensitivity to the secondary structure. In particular, we find a region near the junction of first and second helix that contains a cluster of water molecules which are slow in motion, characterized by long residence times (of the order of 100 ps or more) and separated by a large free energy barrier from the bulk water. However, these ``slow'' water molecules constitute only about 5-10% of the total number of hydration layer water molecules. Nevertheless, they play an important role in stabilizing the protein conformation. Water molecules near the third helix (which is the important helix for biological function) are enthalpically least stable and exhibit the fastest dynamics. Interestingly, barrier height distributions of interfacial water are quite broad for water surrounding all the three helices (and the three coils), with the smallest barriers found for those near the helix-3. For the quasi-bound water molecules near the first and second helices, we use well-known Kramers' theory to estimate the residence time from the free energy surface, by estimating the friction along the reaction coordinate from the diffusion coefficient by using Einstein relation. The agreement found is satisfactory. We discuss the possible biological function of these slow, quasi-bound (but transient) water molecules on the surface.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2012 10:48
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2012 10:48
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/44252

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