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Calculations of electrostatic energies in proteins. The energetics of ionized groups in bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor



Calculations of electrostatic energies in proteins. The energetics of ionized groups in bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor



Journal of Molecular Biology 185(2): 389-404



The importance of including different energy contributions in calculations of electrostatic energies in proteins is examined by calculating the intrinsic pKa values of the acidic groups of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. It appears that such calculations provide a powerful and revealing test; the relevant solvation energies of the ionized acids are of the order of -70 kcal/mol (1 cal = 4.184 J), and microscopic calculations that do not attempt to simulate the complete protein dielectric effect (including the surrounding solvent) can underestimate the solvation energy by as much as 50 kcal/mol. Reproducing correctly, by the same set of parameters, the solvation energies of ionized acids in different sites of a protein cannot be accomplished by including only part of the key energy contributions. The problems associated with macroscopic calculations are also considered and illustrated by the specific case of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. A promising approach is shown to be provided by a refinement of the previously developed Protein Dipoles Langevin Dipoles model. This model seems to represent consistently the microscopic dielectric of the protein and the surrounding water molecules. The model overcomes the problems associated with the macroscopic models (by treating explicitly the solvent molecules) and avoids the convergence problems associated with all-atom solvent models (by treating the average solvent polarization rather than averaging the actual polarization energy). This paper describes in detail the actual implementation of the model and examines its performance in evaluating intrinsic pKa values. Preliminary microscopic considerations of charge-charge interactions are presented.

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Accession: 004870021

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PMID: 2414450


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