Field-SEA: a model for computing the solvation free energies of nonpolar, polar, and charged solutes in water.

Research paper by Libo L Li, Christopher J CJ Fennell, Ken A KA Dill

Indexed on: 05 Dec '13Published on: 05 Dec '13Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B


Previous work describes a computational solvation model called semi-explicit assembly (SEA). The SEA water model computes the free energies of solvation of nonpolar and polar solutes in water with good efficiency and accuracy. However, SEA gives systematic errors in the solvation free energies of ions and charged solutes. Here, we describe field-SEA, an improved treatment that gives accurate solvation free energies of charged solutes, including monatomic and polyatomic ions and model dipeptides, as well as nonpolar and polar molecules. Field-SEA is computationally inexpensive for a given solute because explicit-solvent model simulations are relegated to a precomputation step and because it represents solvating waters in terms of a solute's free-energy field. In essence, field-SEA approximates the physics of explicit-model simulations within a computationally efficient framework. A key finding is that an atom's solvation shell inherits characteristics of a neighboring atom, especially strongly charged neighbors. Field-SEA may be useful where there is a need for solvation free-energy computations that are faster than explicit-solvent simulations and more accurate than traditional implicit-solvent simulations for a wide range of solutes.