We have carried out molecular-dynamics simulations on fully flexible all-atom models of the protein lysozyme immersed in trehalose, an effective biopreservative, with the purpose of exploring the nature and extent of the dynamical coupling between them. Our study shows a strong coupling over a wide range of temperatures. We found that the onset of anharmonic behavior was dictated by changes in the dynamics and relaxation processes in the trehalose glass. The physical origin of protein-trehalose coupling was traced to the hydrogen bonds formed at the interface between the protein and the solvent. Moreover, protein-solvent hydrogen bonding was found to control the structural relaxation of the protein. The dynamics of the protein was found to be heterogeneous; the motions of surface and core atoms had different dependencies on temperature and, in addition, the surface atoms were more sensitive to the dynamics of the solvent than the core atoms. From the solvent perspective we found that the dynamics near the protein surface showed an unexpected enhanced mobility compared to the bulk. These results shed some light on the microscopic origins of the dynamical coupling in protein-solvent systems. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gustavo_carri/5/