Yu, Tang-Qing; Lapelosa, Mauro; Vanden-Eijnden, Eric; Abrams, Cameron F.
Full Kinetics of CO Entry, Internal Diffusion, and Exit in Myoglobin from Transition-Path Theory Simulations

We use Markovian milestoning molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on a tessellation of the collective variable space for CO localization in myoglobin to estimate the kinetics of entry, exit, and internal site-hopping. The tessellation is determined by analysis of the free-energy surface in that space using transition-path theory (TPT), which provides criteria for defining optimal milestones, allowing short, independent, cell-constrained MD simulations to provide properly weighted kinetic data. We coarse grain the resulting kinetic model at two levels: first, using crystallographically relevant internal cavities and their predicted interconnections and solvent portals; and second, as a three-state side-path scheme inspired by similar models developed from geminate recombination experiments. We show semiquantitative agreement with experiment on entry and exit rates and in the identification of the so-called histidine gate at position 64 through which approximate to 90% of flux between solvent and the distal pocket passes. We also show with six-dimensional calculations that the minimum free-energy pathway of escape through the histidine gate is a knock-on mechanism in which motion of the ligand and the gate are sequential and interdependent. In total, these results suggest that such TPT simulations are indeed a promising approach to overcome the practical time-scale limitations of MD to allow reliable estimation of transition mechanisms and rates among metastable states.


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