Zhang H, Tan T, Feng W, van der Spoel D
J Phys Chem B 116 (42) 12684-12693 [2012-10-25; online 2012-10-11]
Electrostatic and van der Waals interactions as well as entropy contribute to the energetics governing macromolecular complexation in biomolecules. Hydrogen bonds play a particularly important role in such interactions. Here we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the hydrogen bond (HB) orientations of free beta-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and head-to-head dimerization of β-CD monomers with and without guest molecules in different environments, namely, in 10 different solvents covering a wide range of polarity. Potentials of mean force for the dimer dissociation are derived from umbrella sampling simulations, allowing determination of the binding affinity between monomers. The HB orientations are in good agreement with available experimental data in water and dimethyl sulfoxide, yielding confidence in the force field used. HB exchanges at the secondary rim of β-CD are observed with a fast rate in water and with a low rate or even no exchange in other solvents. Orientational preferences of interglucopyranose HBs and their effects on the β-CD structure in these solvents are discussed in detail. Polar solvents with stronger HB accepting abilities can interrupt intermolecular HBs more easily, resulting in a less stable dimer. Guest molecules included in the channel-type cavity strengthen the binding affinity between two monomers to some extent, particularly in polar solvents. Formation of the head-to-head dimer is therefore solvent-dependent and guest-modulated. There is only limited correlation between the dimer binding energies and solvent properties like the dielectric constant. This implies that implicit solvent models will not be capable of predicting important properties like binding energy for other solvents than water without a complete reparameterization. This work provides a deeper comprehension on the properties of β-CD, and implications for the application of cyclodextrins in aqueous and nonaqueous media are discussed.