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On the ability of molecular dynamics simulation and continuum electrostatics to treat interfacial water molecules in protein-protein complexes

Abstract :

Interfacial waters are increasingly appreciated as playing a key role in protein-protein interactions. We report on a study of the prediction of interfacial water positions by both Molecular Dynamics and explicit solvent-continuum electrostatics based on the Dipolar Poisson-Boltzmann Langevin (DPBL) model, for three test cases: (i) the barnase/barstar complex (ii) the complex between the DNase domain of colicin E2 and its cognate Im2 immunity protein and (iii) the highly unusual anti-freeze protein Maxi which contains a large number of waters in its interior. We characterize the waters at the interface and in the core of the Maxi protein by the statistics of correctly predicted positions with respect to crystallographic water positions in the PDB files as well as the dynamic measures of diffusion constants and position lifetimes. Our approach provides a methodology for the evaluation of predicted interfacial water positions through an investigation of water-mediated inter-chain contacts. While our results show satisfactory behaviour for molecular dynamics simulation, they also highlight the need for improvement of continuum methods.

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