The notion of direct interaction between denaturing cosolvent and protein residues has been proposed in dialogue relevant to molecular mechanisms of protein denaturation. Here we consider the correlation between free energetic stability and induced fluctuations of an aqueous-hydrophobic interface between a model hydrophobically associating protein, HFBII, and two common protein denaturants, guanidinium cation (Gdm+) and urea. We compute potentials of mean force along an order parameter that brings the solute molecule close to the known hydrophobic region of the protein. We assess potentials of mean force for different relative orientations between the protein and denaturant molecule. We find that in both cases of guanidinium cation and urea relative orientations of the denaturant molecule that are parallel to the local protein-water interface exhibit greater stability compared to edge-on or perpendicular orientations. This behavior has been observed for guanidinium/methylguanidinium cations at the liquid-vapor interface of water, and thus the present results further corroborate earlier findings. Further analysis of the induced fluctuations of the aqueous-hydrophobic interface upon approach of the denaturant molecule indicates that the parallel orientation, displaying a greater stability at the interface, also induces larger fluctuations of the interface compared to the perpendicular orientations. The correlation of interfacial stability and induced interface fluctuation is a recurring theme for interface-stable solutes at hydrophobic interfaces. Moreover, observed correlations between interface stability and induced fluctuations recapitulate connections to local hydration structure and patterns around solutes as evidenced by experiment (Cooper et al., J. Phys. Chem. A 2014, 118, 5657.) and high-level ab initio/DFT calculations (Baer et al., Faraday Discuss 2013, 160, 89). (Figure Presented).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry