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Computed, high-resolution, spatial distributions of solvation energy and entropy can provide detailed information about the role of water in molecular recognition. While grid inhomogeneous solvation theory (GIST) provides rigorous, detailed thermodynamic information from explicit solvent molecular dynamics simulations, recent developments in the 3D reference interaction site model (3D-RISM) theory allow many of the same quantities to be calculated in a fraction of the time. However, 3D-RISM produces atomic-site, rather than molecular, density distributions, which are difficult to extract physical meaning from. To overcome this difficulty, we introduce a method to reconstruct molecular density distributions from atomic site density distributions. Furthermore, we assess the quality of the resulting solvation thermodynamics density distributions by analyzing the binding site of coagulation Factor Xa with both GIST and 3D-RISM. We find good qualitative agreement between the methods for oxygen and hydrogen densities as well as direct solute-solvent energetic interactions. However, 3D-RISM predicts lower energetic and entropic penalties for moving water from the bulk to the binding site.


This work was originally published in PLOS ONE, available at

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