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Journal of Computational Chemistry

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We present a new size‐modified Poisson–Boltzmann ion channel (SMPBIC) model and use it to calculate the electrostatic potential, ionic concentrations, and electrostatic solvation free energy for a voltage‐dependent anion channel (VDAC) on a biological membrane in a solution mixture of multiple ionic species. In particular, the new SMPBIC model adopts a membrane surface charge density and a natural Neumann boundary condition to reflect the charge effect of the membrane on the electrostatics of VDAC. To avoid the singularity difficulties caused by the atomic charges of VDAC, the new SMPBIC model is split into three submodels such that the solution of one of the submodels is obtained analytically and contains all the singularity points of the SMPBIC model. The other two submodels are then solved numerically much more efficiently than the original SMPBIC model. As an application of this SMPBIC submodel partitioning scheme, we derive a new formula for computing the electrostatic solvation free energy. Numerical results for a human VDAC isoform 1 (hVDAC1) in three different salt solutions, each with up to five different ionic species, confirm the significant effects of membrane surface charges on both the electrostatics and ionic concentrations. The results also show that the new SMPBIC model can describe well the anion selectivity property of hVDAC1, and that the new electrostatic solvation free energy formula can significantly improve the accuracy of the currently used formula.


Accepted version. Journal of Computational Chemistry, Vol. 41, No. 3 (January 2020): 218-230. DOI. © 2020 Wiley. Used with permission.

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