Volume 141, Issue 22, 14 December 2014
Index of content:
- SPECIAL TOPIC: BIOLOGICAL WATER
Hydration shells of proteins probed by depolarized light scattering and dielectric spectroscopy: Orientational structure is significant, positional structure is not141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895544View Description Hide Description
Water interfacing hydrated proteins carry properties distinct from those of the bulk and is often described as a separate entity, a “biological water.” We address here the question of which dynamical and structural properties of hydration water deserve this distinction. The study focuses on different aspects of the density and orientational fluctuations of hydration water and the ability to separate them experimentally by combining depolarized light scattering with dielectric spectroscopy. We show that the dynamics of the density fluctuations of the hydration shells reflect the coupled dynamics of the solute and solvent and do not require a special distinction as “biological water.” The orientations of shell water molecules carry dramatically different physics and do require a separation into a sub-ensemble. Depending on the property considered, the perturbation of water's orientational structure induced by the protein propagates 3–5 hydration shells into the bulk at normal temperature.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895533View Description Hide Description
Atomistic molecular dynamics simulation of an aqueous solution of the small protein HP-36 has been carried out with explicit solvent at room temperature. Efforts have been made to explore the influence of the protein on the relative packing and ordering of water molecules around its secondary structures, namely, three α-helices. The calculations reveal that the inhomogeneous water ordering and density distributions around the helices are correlated with their relative hydrophobicity. Importantly, we have identified the existence of a narrow relatively dehydrated region containing randomly organized “quasi-free” water molecules beyond the first layer of “bound” waters at the protein surface. These water molecules with relatively weaker binding energies form the transition state separating the “bound” and “free” water molecules at the interface. Further, increased contribution of solid-like caging motions of water molecules around the protein is found to be responsible for reduced fluidity of the hydration layer. Interestingly, we notice that the hydration layer of helix-3 is more fluidic with relatively higher entropy as compared to the hydration layers of the other two helical segments. Such characteristics of helix-3 hydration layer correlate well with the activity of HP-36, as helix-3 contains the active site of the protein.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895522View Description Hide Description
Electrostatic forces enormously impact the structure, interactions, and function of biomolecules. We perform all-atom molecular dynamics simulations for 5 proteins and 5 RNAs to determine the dependence on ionic strength of the ion and water charge distributions surrounding the biomolecules, as well as the contributions of ions to the electrostatic free energy of interaction between the biomolecule and the surrounding salt solution (for a total of 40 different biomolecule/solvent combinations). Although water provides the dominant contribution to the charge density distribution and to the electrostatic potential even in 1M NaCl solutions, the contributions of water molecules and of ions to the total electrostatic interaction free energy with the solvated biomolecule are comparable. The electrostatic biomolecule/solvent interaction energies and the total charge distribution exhibit a remarkable insensitivity to salt concentrations over a huge range of salt concentrations (20 mM to 1M NaCl). The electrostatic potentials near the biomolecule's surface obtained from the MD simulations differ markedly, as expected, from the potentials predicted by continuum dielectric models, even though the total electrostatic interaction free energies are within 11% of each other.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895530View Description Hide Description
We developed a statistical thermodynamic algorithm for analyzing solvent-induced folding/unfolding transitions of proteins. The energetics of protein transitions is governed by the interplay between the cavity formation contribution and the term reflecting direct solute-cosolvent interactions. The latter is viewed as an exchange reaction in which the binding of a cosolvent to a solute is accompanied by release of waters of hydration to the bulk. Our model clearly differentiates between the stoichiometric and non-stoichiometric interactions of solvent or co-solvent molecules with a solute. We analyzed the urea- and glycine betaine (GB)-induced conformational transitions of model proteins of varying size which are geometrically approximated by a sphere in their native state and a spherocylinder in their unfolded state. The free energy of cavity formation and its changes accompanying protein transitions were computed based on the concepts of scaled particle theory. The free energy of direct solute-cosolvent interactions were analyzed using empirical parameters previously determined for urea and GB interactions with low molecular weight model compounds. Our computations correctly capture the mode of action of urea and GB and yield realistic numbers for (∂ΔG°/∂a3)T,P which are related to the m-values of protein denaturation. Urea is characterized by negative values of (∂ΔG°/∂a3)T,P within the entire range of urea concentrations analyzed. At concentrations below ∼1 M, GB exhibits positive values of (∂ΔG°/∂a3)T,P which turn positive at higher GB concentrations. The balance between the thermodynamic contributions of cavity formation and direct solute-cosolvent interactions that, ultimately, defines the mode of cosolvent action is extremely subtle. A 20% increase or decrease in the equilibrium constant for solute-cosolvent binding may change the sign of (∂ΔG°/∂a3)T,P thereby altering the mode of cosolvent action (stabilizing to destabilizing or vice versa).
Theoretical vibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopy of water near lipid and surfactant monolayer interfaces. II. Two-dimensional spectra141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895968View Description Hide Description
The structural stability and function of biomolecules is strongly influenced by the dynamics and hydrogen bonding of interfacial water. Understanding and characterizing the dynamics of these water molecules require a surface-sensitive technique such as two-dimensional vibrational sum-frequency generation (2DSFG) spectroscopy. We have combined theoretical 2DSFG calculations with molecular dynamics simulations in order to investigate the dynamics of water near different lipid and surfactant monolayer surfaces. We show that 2DSFG can distinguish the dynamics of interfacial water as a function of the lipid charge and headgroup chemistry. The dynamics of water is slow compared to the bulk near water-zwitterionic and water-anionic interfaces due to conformational constraints on interfacial water imposed by strong phosphate-water hydrogen bonding. The dynamics of water is somewhat faster near water-cationic lipid interfaces as no such constraint is present. Using hydrogen bonding and rotational correlation functions, we characterize the dynamics of water as a function of the distance from the interface between water and zwitterionic lipids. We find that there is a transition from bulk-like to interface-like dynamics approximately 7 Å away from a zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine monolayer surface.
Intermolecular interactions in highly concentrated protein solutions upon compression and the role of the solvent141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895542View Description Hide Description
The influence of high hydrostatic pressure on the structure and protein-protein interaction potential of highly concentrated lysozyme solutions up to about 370 mg ml−1 was studied and analyzed using small-angle X-ray scattering in combination with a liquid-state theoretical approach. In the concentration region below 200 mg ml−1, the interaction parameters of lysozyme solutions are affected by pressure in a nonlinear way, which is probably due to significant changes in the structural properties of bulk water, i.e., due to a solvent-mediated effect. Conversely, for higher concentrated protein solutions, where hydration layers below ∼4 water molecules are reached, the interaction potential turns rather insensitive to compression. The onset of transient (dynamic) clustering is envisaged in this concentration range. Our results also show that pressure suppresses protein nucleation, aggregation and finally crystallization in supersaturated condensed protein solutions. These findings are of importance for controlling and fine-tuning protein crystallization. Moreover, these results are also important for understanding the high stability of highly concentrated protein solutions (as they occur intracellularly) in organisms thriving under hydrostatic pressure conditions such as in the deep sea, where pressures up to the kbar-level are reached.
Changes in the hydrogen-bonding strength of internal water molecules and cysteine residues in the conductive state of channelrhodopsin-1141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4895796View Description Hide Description
Water plays an essential role in the structure and function of proteins, particularly in the less understood class of membrane proteins. As the first of its kind, channelrhodopsin is a light-gated cation channel and paved the way for the new and vibrant field of optogenetics, where nerve cells are activated by light. Still, the molecular mechanism of channelrhodopsin is not understood. Here, we applied time-resolved FT-IR difference spectroscopy to channelrhodopsin-1 from Chlamydomonas augustae. It is shown that the (conductive) P2 380 intermediate decays with τ ≈ 40 ms and 200 ms after pulsed excitation. The vibrational changes between the closed and the conductive states were analyzed in the X-H stretching region (X = O, S, N), comprising vibrational changes of water molecules, sulfhydryl groups of cysteine side chains and changes of the amide A of the protein backbone. The O-H stretching vibrations of “dangling” water molecules were detected in two different states of the protein using H2 18O exchange. Uncoupling experiments with a 1:1 mixture of H2O:D2O provided the natural uncoupled frequencies of the four O-H (and O-D) stretches of these water molecules, each with a very weakly hydrogen-bonded O-H group (3639 and 3628 cm−1) and with the other O-H group medium (3440 cm−1) to moderately strongly (3300 cm−1) hydrogen-bonded. Changes in amide A and thiol vibrations report on global and local changes, respectively, associated with the formation of the conductive state. Future studies will aim at assigning the respective cysteine group(s) and at localizing the “dangling” water molecules within the protein, providing a better understanding of their functional relevance in CaChR1.
Accurate small and wide angle x-ray scattering profiles from atomic models of proteins and nucleic acids141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4896220View Description Hide Description
A new method is introduced to compute X-ray solution scattering profiles from atomic models of macromolecules. The three-dimensional version of the Reference Interaction Site Model (RISM) from liquid-state statistical mechanics is employed to compute the solvent distribution around the solute, including both water and ions. X-ray scattering profiles are computed from this distribution together with the solute geometry. We describe an efficient procedure for performing this calculation employing a Lebedev grid for the angular averaging. The intensity profiles (which involve no adjustable parameters) match experiment and molecular dynamics simulations up to wide angle for two proteins (lysozyme and myoglobin) in water, as well as the small-angle profiles for a dozen biomolecules taken from the BioIsis.net database. The RISM model is especially well-suited for studies of nucleic acids in salt solution. Use of fiber-diffraction models for the structure of duplex DNA in solution yields close agreement with the observed scattering profiles in both the small and wide angle scattering (SAXS and WAXS) regimes. In addition, computed profiles of anomalous SAXS signals (for Rb+ and Sr2+) emphasize the ionic contribution to scattering and are in reasonable agreement with experiment. In cases where an absolute calibration of the experimental data at q = 0 is available, one can extract a count of the excess number of waters and ions; computed values depend on the closure that is assumed in the solution of the Ornstein–Zernike equations, with results from the Kovalenko–Hirata closure being closest to experiment for the cases studied here.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4896073View Description Hide Description
In this study, we analyze correlations of vibrational motion on the surface of a small globular protein and in its hydration shell. In contrast to single particle hydration water dynamics, which are perturbed by interactions with the protein solute only in the first few hydration layers, we find that correlated, collective motions extend into the surrounding solvent on a 10 Å length scale, specifically at far-infrared frequencies below 100 cm−1. As a function of frequency, we analyze the distribution of correlated longitudinal motions in the three-dimensional environment of the protein solute, as well as in the vicinity of different protein-water interfaces. An anisotropic distribution of these correlations is observed, which is related to specific protein-water vibrations and interactions at the interfaces, as well as flexibilities of solvent exposed sites. Our results show that coupling of protein and water dynamics leaves a three-dimensional imprint in the collective dynamics of its hydration shell, and we discuss potential implications for biomolecular function, e.g., molecular recognition and binding, and the dynamical coupling of proteins to their native solvation environment.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4896693View Description Hide Description
The long four-helix bundle antifreeze protein Maxi contains an unusual core for a globular protein. More than 400 ordered waters between the helices form a nano-pore of internal water about 150 Å long. Molecular dynamics simulations of hydrated Maxi were carried out using the CHARMM27 protein forcefield and the TIP3P water model. Solvation in the core and non-core first hydration shell was analyzed in terms of water-water H-bond distance-angle distributions. The core had an increased population of low-angle H-bonds between water pairs relative to bulk water. Enhancement of low angle H-bonds was particularly pronounced for water pairs at the interfaces between apolar and polar regions inside the protein core, characteristic of the anchored clathrate solvation structure seen previously in the ice-nuclei binding surfaces of type I, type III, and beta-helical antifreeze proteins. Anchored clathrate type solvation structure was not seen in the exterior solvation shell except around residues implicated in ice binding. Analysis of solvation dynamics using water residence times and diffusion constants showed that exterior solvation shell waters exchanged rapidly with bulk water, with no difference between ice-binding and non-binding residues. Core waters had about ten-fold slower diffusion than bulk water. Water residence times around core residues averaged about 8 ps, similar to those on the exterior surface, but they tended to exchange primarily with other core water, resulting in longer, >40 ps residence times within the core. Preferential exchange or diffusion of the water along the long axis of the water core of Maxi was not detected.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4896984View Description Hide Description
We present a computational study of the folding of the Trp-rich β-hairpin TrpZip2 near graphene, a surface of interest as a platform for biosensors. The protein adsorbs to the surface, populating a new bound, folded state, coexisting with extended, adsorbed conformations. Adsorption and folding are modulated by direct interactions between the indole rings of TrpZip2 and the rings on the graphene surface, as well as by indirect water-mediated interactions. In particular, we observe strong layering of water near graphene, ice-like water configurations, and the formation of short lived hydrogen-bonds between water and protein. In order to study the effect of this layering in more detail, we modified the interactions between graphene and water to obtain two extreme cases: (1) enhanced layering of water that prevents the peptide from penetrating the water layer thereby enabling it to fold to a bulk-like structure, and (2) disruption of the water layer leading to adsorption and unfolding of the protein on the surface. These studies illuminate the roles of direct and solvent mediated interactions in modulating adsorption and folding of proteins on surfaces.
Hydration properties of natural and synthetic DNA sequences with methylated adenine or cytosine bases in the R.DpnI target and BDNF promoter studied by molecular dynamics simulations141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4897525View Description Hide Description
Adenine and cytosine methylation are two important epigenetic modifications of DNA sequences at the levels of the genome and transcriptome. To characterize the differential roles of methylating adenine or cytosine with respect to their hydration properties, we performed conventional MD simulations and free energy perturbation calculations for two particular DNA sequences, namely the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promoter and the R.DpnI-bound DNA that are known to undergo methylation of C5-methyl cytosine and N6-methyl adenine, respectively. We found that a single methylated cytosine has a clearly favorable hydration free energy over cytosine since the attached methyl group has a slightly polar character. In contrast, capping the strongly polar N6 of adenine with a methyl group gives a slightly unfavorable contribution to its free energy of solvation. Performing the same demethylation in the context of a DNA double-strand gave quite similar results for the more solvent-accessible cytosine but much more unfavorable results for the rather buried adenine. Interestingly, the same demethylation reactions are far more unfavorable when performed in the context of the opposite (BDNF or R.DpnI target) sequence. This suggests a natural preference for methylation in a specific sequence context. In addition, free energy calculations for demethylating adenine or cytosine in the context of B-DNA vs. Z-DNA suggest that the conformational B-Z transition of DNA transition is rather a property of cytosine methylated sequences but is not preferable for the adenine-methylated sequences investigated here.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4897539View Description Hide Description
Elucidating the physical effect of cholesterol (Chol) on biological membranes is necessary towards rationalizing their structural and functional role in cell membranes. One of the debated questions is the role of hydration water in Chol-embedding lipid membranes, for which only little direct experimental data are available. Here, we study the hydration dynamics in a series of Chol-rich and depleted bilayer systems using an approach termed 1H Overhauser dynamic nuclear polarization (ODNP) NMR relaxometry that enables the sensitive and selective determination of water diffusion within 5–10 Å of a nitroxide-based spin label, positioned off the surface of the polar headgroups or within the nonpolar core of lipid membranes. The Chol-rich membrane systems were prepared from mixtures of Chol, dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine and/or dioctadecyl phosphatidylcholine lipid that are known to form liquid-ordered, raft-like, domains. Our data reveal that the translational diffusion of local water on the surface and within the hydrocarbon volume of the bilayer is significantly altered, but in opposite directions: accelerated on the membrane surface and dramatically slowed in the bilayer interior with increasing Chol content. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) lineshape analysis shows looser packing of lipid headgroups and concurrently tighter packing in the bilayer core with increasing Chol content, with the effects peaking at lipid compositions reported to form lipid rafts. The complementary capability of ODNP and EPR to site-specifically probe the hydration dynamics and lipid ordering in lipid membrane systems extends the current understanding of how Chol may regulate biological processes. One possible role of Chol is the facilitation of interactions between biological constituents and the lipid membrane through the weakening or disruption of strong hydrogen-bond networks of the surface hydration layers that otherwise exert stronger repulsive forces, as reflected in faster surface water diffusivity. Another is the concurrent tightening of lipid packing that reduces passive, possibly unwanted, diffusion of ions and water across the bilayer.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4897975View Description Hide Description
By covalently binding a photoswitchable linker across the binding groove of the PDZ2 domain, a small conformational change can be photo-initiated that mimics the allosteric transition of the protein. The response of its binding groove is investigated with the help of ultrafast pump-probe IR spectroscopy from picoseconds to tens of microseconds. The temperature dependence of that response is compatible with diffusive dynamics on a rugged energy landscape without any prominent energy barrier. Furthermore, the dependence of the kinetics on the concentration of certain viscogens, sucrose, and glycerol, has been investigated. A pronounced viscosity dependence is observed that can be best fit by a power law, i.e., a fractional viscosity dependence. The change of kinetics when comparing sucrose with glycerol as viscogen, however, provides strong evidence that direct interactions of the viscogen molecule with the protein do play a role as well. This conclusion is supported by accompanying molecular dynamics simulations.
141(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4897976View Description Hide Description
The accuracy of biomolecular simulations depends to some degree on the accuracy of the water model used to solvate the biomolecules. Because many biomolecules such as proteins are electrostatically rather inhomogeneous, containing apolar, polar, and charged moieties or side chains, a water model should be able to represent the polarisation response to a local electrostatic field, while being compatible with the force field used to model the biomolecules or protein. The two polarisable water models, COS/G2 and COS/D, that are compatible with the GROMOS biomolecular force fields leave room for improvement. The COS/G2 model has a slightly too large dielectric permittivity and the COS/D model displays a much too slow dynamics. The proposed COS/D2 model has four interaction sites: only one Lennard-Jones interaction site, the oxygen atom, and three permanent charge sites, the two hydrogens, and one massless off-atom site that also serves as charge-on-spring (COS) polarisable site with a damped or sub-linear dependence of the induced dipole on the electric field strength for large values of the latter. These properties make it a cheap and yet realistic water model for biomolecular solvation.