Quantifying the Molecular Polarization Response of Liquid Water Interfaces at Heterogeneously Charged Surfaces

S Shin and AP Willard, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION, 19, 1843-1852 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.2c01256

The hydration shells of proteins mediate interactions, such as small molecule binding, that are vital to their biological function or in some cases their dysfunction. However, even when the structure of a protein is known, the properties of its hydration environment cannot be easily predicted due to the complex interplay between protein surface heterogeneity and the collective structure of water's hydrogen bonding network. This manuscript presents a theoretical study of the influence of surface charge heterogeneity on the polarization response of the liquid water interface. We focus our attention on classical point charge models of water, where the polarization response is limited to molecular reorientation. We introduce a new computational method for analyzing simulation data that is capable of quantifying water's collective polarization response and determining the effective surface charge distribution of hydrated surfaces over atomistic length scales. To illustrate the utility of this method, we present the results of molecular dynamics simulations of liquid water in contact with a heterogeneous model surface and the CheY protein.

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