Contributions of higher-order proximal distribution functions to solvent structure around proteins

Razie Yousefi, Gillian C. Lynch, Madeline Galbraith, B. Montgomery Pettitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The proximal distribution function (pDF) quantifies the probability of finding a solvent molecule in the vicinity of solutes. The approach constitutes a hierarchically organized theory for constructing approximate solvation structures around solutes. Given the assumption of universality of atom cluster-specific solvation, reconstruction of the solvent distribution around arbitrary molecules provides a computationally convenient route to solvation thermodynamics. Previously, such solvent reconstructions usually considered the contribution of the nearest-neighbor distribution only. We extend the pDF reconstruction algorithm to terms including next-nearest-neighbor contribution. As a test, small molecules (alanine and butane) are examined. The analysis is then extended to include the protein myoglobin in the P6 crystal unit cell. Molecular dynamics simulations are performed, and solvent density distributions around the solute molecules are compared with the results from different pDF reconstruction models. It is shown that the next-nearest-neighbor modification significantly improves the reconstruction of the solvent number density distribution in concave regions and between solute molecules. The probability densities are then used to calculate the solute-solvent non-bonded interaction energies including van der Waals and electrostatic, which are found to be in good agreement with the simulated values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104110
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 14 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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