The electrostatic response of water to neutral polar solutes: Implications for continuum solvent modeling

Hari S. Muddana, Neil V. Sapra, Andrew T. Fenley, Michael K. Gilson
2013 Journal of Chemical Physics  
Continuum solvation models are widely used to estimate the hydration free energies of small molecules and proteins, in applications ranging from drug design to protein engineering, and most such models are based on the approximation of a linear dielectric response by the solvent. We used explicit-water molecular dynamics simulations with the TIP3P water model to probe this linear response approximation in the case of neutral polar molecules, using miniature cucurbituril and cyclodextrin
more » ... s and protein side-chain analogs as model systems. We observe supralinear electrostatic solvent responses, and this nonlinearity is found to result primarily from waters' being drawn closer and closer to the solutes with increased solute-solvent electrostatic interactions; i.e., from solute electrostriction. Dielectric saturation and changes in the water-water hydrogen bonding network, on the other hand, play little role. Thus, accounting for solute electrostriction may be a productive approach to improving the accuracy of continuum solvation models. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
doi:10.1063/1.4808376 pmid:23781802 pmcid:PMC3695974 fatcat:pfmmj2vypbaf7ps6pvrgpi2jae