Role of hydration force in the self-assembly of collagens and amyloid steric zipper filaments. Academic Article uri icon


  • In protein self-assembly, types of surfaces determine the force between them. Yet the extent to which the surrounding water contributes to this force remains as a fundamental question. Here we study three self-assembling filament systems that respectively have hydrated (collagen), dry nonpolar, and dry polar (amyloid) interfaces. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we calculate and compare local hydration maps and hydration forces. We find that the primary hydration shells are formed all over the surface, regardless of the types of the underlying amino acids. The weakly oscillating hydration force arises from coalescence and depletion of hydration shells as two filaments approach, whereas local water diffusion, orientation, or hydrogen-bonding events have no direct effect. Hydration forces between hydrated, polar, and nonpolar interfaces differ in the amplitude and phase of the oscillation relative to the equilibrium surface separation. Therefore, water-mediated interactions between these protein surfaces, ranging in character from "hydrophobic" to "hydrophilic", have a common molecular origin based on the robustly formed hydration shells, which is likely applicable to a broad range of biomolecular assemblies whose interfacial geometry is similar in length scale to those of the present study.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

author list (cited authors)

  • Ravikumar, K. M., & Hwang, W.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Ravikumar, Krishnakumar M||Hwang, Wonmuk

publication date

  • August 2011