Protein Context-Dependent Hydrophobicity of Amino Acids in Protein
Hydrophobicity is the key concept to understand the water plays in protein folding, protein aggregation, and protein-protein interaction. Traditionally, the hydrophobicity of protein is defined based on the scales of the hydrophobicity of residue, assuming that the hydrophobicity of free amino acids is maintained. Here, we explore how the hydrophobicity of constituting amino acids in protein rely on the protein context, in particular, on the total charge and secondary structures of a protein. To this end, we calculate and investigate the hydration free energy of three short proteins based on the integral-equation theory of liquids. We find that the hydration free energy of charged amino acids is significantly affected by the protein total charge and exhibits contrasting behavior depending on the protein total charge being positive or negative. We also observe that amino acids in the β-sheets display more enhanced the hydrophobicity than amino acids in the loop, whereas those in the α-helix do not clearly show such a tendency. And the salt-bridge forming amino acids also exhibit increase of the hydrophobicity than that with no salt bridge. Our results provide novel insights into the hydrophobicity of amino acids, and will be valuable for rationalizing and predicting the strength of water-mediated interaction involved in the biological activity of proteins.