Interfacial Water Many-body Effects Drive Structural Dynamics and Allosteric interactions in SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Dimerization Interface


Following our previous work (Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 4889 – 4907), we study the structural dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease dimerization interface (apo dimer) by means of microsecond adaptive sampling molecular dynamics simulations (50 microseconds) using the AMOEBA polarizable force field (PFF). This interface is structured by a complex H-bond network that is only stable at physiological pH. Structural correlations analysis between its residues and the catalytic site confirms the presence of a buried allosteric site. However, noticeable differences in allosteric connectivity are observed between PFFs and non-PFFs. Interfacial polarizable water molecules are shown to appear at the heart of this discrepancy, since they are connected to the global interface H-bond network and able to adapt their dipole moment (and dynamics) to their diverse local physico-chemical micro-environments. The water-interface many-body interactions appear to drive the interface volume fluctuations and to therefore mediate the allosteric interactions with the catalytic cavity.


Supplementary material

SARS CoV 2 MPro Analysis Supporting Information-1305