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Journal Article

Kinetic pathways of water exchange in the first hydration shell of magnesium


Schwierz,  Nadine
Emmy Noether Research Group, Department of Theoretical Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Schwierz, N. (2020). Kinetic pathways of water exchange in the first hydration shell of magnesium. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 152(22): 224106. doi:10.1063/1.5144258.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-8CBC-9
Water exchange between the coordination shells of metal cations in aqueous solutions is fundamental in understanding their role in biochemical processes. Despite the importance, the microscopic mechanism of water exchange in the first hydration shell of Mg2+ has not been resolved since the exchange dynamics is out of reach for conventional all-atom simulations. To overcome this challenge, transition path sampling is applied to resolve the kinetic pathways, to characterize the reaction mechanism and to provide an accurate estimate of the exchange rate. The results reveal that water exchange involves the concerted motion of two exchanging water molecules and the collective rearrangement of all water molecules in the first hydration shell. Using a recently developed atomistic model for Mg2+, water molecules remain in the first hydration shell for about 40 ms, a time considerably longer compared to the 0.1 ms predicted by transition state theory based on the coordinates of a single water molecule. The discrepancy between these timescales arises from the neglected degrees of freedom of the second exchanging water molecule that plays a decisive role in the reaction mechanism. The approach presented here contributes molecular insights into the dynamics of water around metal cations and provides the basis for developing accurate atomistic models or for understanding complex biological processes involving metal cations.