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Dipolar Nanodomains in Protein Hydration Shells

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 07:12 by Daniel R. Martin, Dmitry V. Matyushov
The network of hydrogen bonds characteristic of bulk water is significantly disturbed at the protein–water interface, where local fields induce mutually frustrated dipolar domains with potentially novel structure and dynamics. Here the dipolar susceptibility of hydration shells of lysozyme is studied by molecular dynamics simulations in a broad range of temperatures, 140–300 K. The real part of the susceptibility passes through a broad maximum as a function of temperature. The maximum shifts to higher temperatures with increasing frequency of the dielectric experiment. This phenomenology is consistent with that reported for bulk relaxor ferroelectrics, where it is related to the formation of dipolar nanodomains. Nanodomains in the hydration shell extend 12–15 Å from the protein surface into the bulk. Their dynamics are significantly slower than the dynamics of bulk water. The domains dynamically freeze into a ferroelectric glass below 160 K, at which point the Arrhenius plot of the dipolar relaxation time becomes significantly steeper.