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Title: Solvation Free Energies of Alanine Peptides: The Effect of Flexibility

The electrostatic (?Gel), cavity-formation (?Gvdw), and total (?G) solvation free energies for 10 alanine peptides ranging in length (n) from 1 to 10 monomers were calculated. The free energies were computed both with xed, extended conformations of the peptides and again for some of the peptides without constraints. The solvation free energies, ?Gel, ?Gvdw, and ?G, were found to be linear in n, with the slopes of the best-fit lines being gamma_el, gamma_vdw, and gamma, respectively. Both gamma_el and gamma were negative for fixed and flexible peptides, and gamma_vdw was negative for fixed peptides. That gamma_vdw was negative was surprising, as experimental data on alkanes, theoretical models, and MD computations on small molecules and model systems generally suggest that gamma_vdw should be positive. A negative gamma_vdw seemingly contradicts the notion that ?Gvdw drives the initial collapse of the protein when it folds by favoring conformations with small surface areas, but when we computed ?Gvdw for the flexible peptides, thereby allowing the peptides to assume natural ensembles of more compact conformations, gamma-vdw was positive. Because most proteins do not assume extended conformations, a ?Gvdw that increases with increasing surface area may be typical for globular proteins. An alternative hypothesis is thatmore » the collapse is driven by intramolecular interactions. We show that the intramolecular van der Waal's interaction energy is more favorable for the flexible than for the extended peptides, seemingly favoring this hypothesis, but the large fluctuations in this energy may make attributing the collapse of the peptide to this intramolecular energy difficult.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117(51):16428-16435
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory