Implicit solvation parameters derived from explicit water forces in large-scale molecular dynamics simulations

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Implicit solvation is a mean force approach to model solvent forces acting on a solute molecule. It is frequently used in molecular simulations to reduce the computational cost of solvent treatment. In the first instance, the free energy of solvation and the associated solvent-solute forces can be approximated by a function of the solvent-accessible surface area (SASA) of the solute and differentiated by an atom-specific solvation parameter σ(i) (SASA). A procedure for the determination of values for the σ(i) (SASA) parameters through matching of explicit and implicit solvation forces is proposed. Using the results of Molecular Dynamics simulations of 188 topologically diverse protein structures in water and in implicit solvent, values for the σ(i) (SASA) parameters for atom types i of the standard amino acids in the GROMOS force field have been determined. A simplified representation based on groups of atom types σ(g) (SASA) was obtained via partitioning of the atom-type σ(i) (SASA) distributions by dynamic programming. Three groups of atom types with well separated parameter ranges were obtained, and their performance in implicit versus explicit simulations was assessed. The solvent forces are available at

Journal details

Volume 8
Issue number 7
Pages 2391-2403
Publication date


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