Motivated by the long-term goal of theoretically analyzing long-range proton transfer (PT) kinetics in biomolecular pumps, researchers made a number of technical developments in the framework of quantum mechanics-molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulations. A set of collective reaction coordinates is proposed for characterizing the progress of long-range proton transfers; unlike previous suggestions, the new coordinates can describe PT along highly nonlinear three-dimensional pathways. Calculations using a realistic model of carbonic anhydrase demonstrated that adiabatic mapping using these collective coordinates gives reliable energetics and critical geometrical parameters as compared to minimum energy path calculations, which suggests that the new coordinates can be effectively used as reaction coordinate in potential of mean force calculations for long-range PT in complex systems. In addition, the generalized solvent boundary potential was implemented in the QM/MM framework for rectangular geometries, which is useful for studying reactions in membrane systems. The resulting protocol was found to produce water structure in the interior of aquaporin consistent with previous studies including a much larger number of explicit solvent and lipid molecules. The effect of electrostatics for PT through a membrane protein was also illustrated with a simple model channel embedded in different dielectric continuum environments. The encouraging results observed so far suggest that robust theoretical analysis of long-range PT kinetics in biomolecular pumps can soon be realized in a QM/MM framework.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry