Interaction of Charged Patchy Protein Models with Like-Charged Polyelectrolyte Brushes


We study the adsorption of charged patchy particle models (CPPMs) on a thin film of a like-charged and dense polyelectrolyte (PE) brush (of 50 monomers per chain) by means of implicit-solvent, explicit-salt Langevin dynamics computer simulations. Our previously introduced set of CPPMs embraces well-defined one- and two-patched spherical globules, each of the same net charge and (nanometer) size, with mono- and multipole moments comparable to those of small globular proteins. We focus on electrostatic effects on the adsorption far away from the isoelectric point of typical proteins, i.e., where charge regulation plays no role. Despite the same net charge of the brush and globule, we observe large binding affinities up to tens of the thermal energy, kBT, which are enhanced by decreasing salt concentration and increasing charge of the patch(es). Our analysis of the distance-resolved potentials of mean force together with a phenomenological description of all leading interaction contributions shows that the attraction is strongest at the brush surface, driven by multipolar, Born (self-energy), and counterion-release contributions, dominating locally over the monopolar and steric repulsions.
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