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Molecular dynamics simulation or structure refinement of proteins: are solvent molecules required? A case study using hen lysozyme
- Journal Article
In protein simulation or structure refinement based on values of observable quantities measured in (aqueous) solution, solvent (water) molecules may be explicitly treated, omitted, or represented by a potential of mean-solvation-force term, depending on protein coordinates only, in the force field used. These three approaches are compared for hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL). This 129-residue non-spherical protein contains a variety of secondary-structure elements, and ample experimental data are available: 1630 atom-atom Nuclear Overhauser Enhancement (NOE) upper distance bounds, 213 (3) J-couplings and 200 S-2 order parameters. These data are used to compare the performance of the three approaches. It is found that a molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in explicit water approximates the experimental data much better than stochastic dynamics (SD) simulation in vacuo without or with a solvent-accessible-surface-area (SASA) implicit-solvation term added to the force field. This is due to the missing energetic and entropic contributions and hydrogen-bonding capacities of the water molecules and the missing dielectric screening effect of this high-permittivity solvent. Omission of explicit water molecules leads to compaction of the protein, an increased internal strain, distortion of exposed loop and turn regions and excessive intra-protein hydrogen bonding. As a consequence, the conformation and dynamics of groups on the surface of the protein, which may play a key role in protein-protein interactions or ligand or substrate binding, may be incorrectly modelled. It is thus recommended to include water molecules explicitly in structure refinement of proteins in aqueous solution based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) or other experimentally measured data. Show more
Journal / seriesEUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS
SubjectStochastic dynamics simulation; Structure refinement; Implicit solvation; Mean solvation force; Conformational sampling
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