The journal of physical chemistry. B

Local and bulk hydration of zwitterionic glycine and its analogues through molecular simulations.

PMID 21174438


Molecular dynamics simulations were used to characterize the differences in hydration between glycine and two of its zwitterionic analogues: N,N-dimethylglycine and N,N,N-trimethylglycine (glycine betaine). The hydration of dodecane and oligo(ethylene glycol) was studied for reference. Both structuring and dynamics of bulk and bound water were examined using a variety of properties and at multiple concentrations. Metrics, such as radial distribution functions and residence times, were used to characterize hydration. Also, we used more specialized metrics that can discriminate between subtle differences in hydration, such as condensed phase order parameters, Voronoi tessellations, and multidimensional pair-pair correlation functions. Trimethylglycine was found to have a unique hydration shell that extends across the entire molecule and has no specific interactions between solute molecules. Also, we found that dimethylglycine has a similar hydration structure to that of trimethylglycine despite its hydrogen-bond donor. Glycine was found to aggregate and have a more disjoint hydration shell. All three zwitterions were found to structurally affect water within 1.5-2.0 coordination shells. Lastly, trimethylglycine is disperse in solution even at very high concentrations, and water rapidly moves between trimethylglycine amine groups. This work has meaningful implications for protein stability where trimethylglycine is known to prevent protein aggregation and nonfouling interfaces where trimethylglycine prevents nonspecific protein adsorption.

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N,N-Dimethylglycine, ≥99%
N,N-Dimethylglycine hydrochloride
C4H9NO2 · HCl