Implicit inclusion of atomic polarization of in modeling of partitioning between water and lipid bilayers
We propose an effective and straightforward way of including atomic polarization in simulations of the partitioning of small molecules in inhomogenous media based on classical molecular dynamics with non-polarizable force fields. The approach presented here takes advantage of the relatively fast sampling of phase space obtained with additive force fields by adding the polarization effects afterwards. By using pre-polarized charges for the polar and non-polar phase together with a polarization correction term the effects of atomic polarization are effectively taken into account. The results show a clear improvement compared to using the more common setup with one set of charges obtained from gas phase ab-initio calculations. It is shown that when proper measures are taken into account computer simulations with non-polarizable force fields are able to accurately determine water-membrane partitioning and preferential location of small molecules in the membrane interior. We believe that the approach presented here can be useful in rational drug design and in investigations of molecular mechanisms of anesthetic or toxic action.