Implications of a high dielectric constant in proteins

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Solvation of protein surface charges plays an important role for the protonation states of titratable surface groups and is routinely incorporated in low dielectric protein models using surface accessible areas. For many-body protein simulations, however, such dielectric boundary methods are rarely tractable and a greater level of simplification is desirable. In this work, we scrutinize how charges on a high dielectric surface are affected by the nonpolar interior core of the protein. A simple dielectric model, which models the interior as a low dielectric sphere, combined with Monte Carlo simulations, shows that for small, hydrophilic proteins the effect of the low dielectric interior is largely negligible and that the protein (and solution) can be approximated with a uniform high dielectric constant equal to that of the solvent. This is verified by estimates of titration curves and acidity constants for four different proteins (BPTI, calbindin D-9k, ribonuclease A, and turkey ovomucoid third domain) that all correlate well with experimental data. Furthermore, the high dielectric approximation follows as a natural consequence of the multipole expansion of the potential due to embedded protein charges in the presence of the low dielectric core region. (c) 2007 American Institute of Physics.


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  • Teoretisk kemi
TidskriftJournal of Chemical Physics
StatusPublished - 2007
Peer review utfördJa