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Chemistry and Biochemistry


The effect of preferential binding of solute molecules within an aqueous solution on the structure and dynamics of the histone H3.1 protein is examined by a coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulation. The knowledge-based residue-residue and hydropathy-index-based residue-solvent interactions are used as input to analyze a number of local and global physical quantities as a function of the residue-solvent interaction strength (f). Results from simulations that treat the aqueous solution as a homogeneous effective solvent medium are compared to when positional fluctuations of the solute molecules are explicitly considered. While the radius of gyration (Rg) of the protein exhibits a non-monotonic dependence on solvent interaction over a wide range of f within an effective medium, an abrupt collapse in Rg occurs in a narrow range of f when solute molecules rapidly bind to a preferential set of sites on the protein. The structure factor S(q) of the protein with wave vector (q) becomes oscillatory in the collapsed state, which reflects segmental correlations caused by spatial fluctuations in solute-protein binding. Spatial fluctuations in solute binding also modify the effective dimension (D) of the protein in fibrous (D ∼ 1.3), random-coil (D ∼ 1.75), and globular (D ∼ 3) conformational ensembles as the interaction strength increases, which differ from an effective medium with respect to the magnitude of D and the length scale.

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The Journal of Chemical Physics





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