Using molecular dynamics simulations to identify the key factors responsible for chiral recognition by an amino acid-based molecular micelle

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Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to investigate the binding of six chiral compounds to the amino acid-based molecular micelle (MM) poly-(sodium undecyl-(L)-leucine-leucine) or poly(SULL). The MM investigated is used as a chiral selector in capillary electrophoresis. The project goal was to characterize the chiral recognition mechanism in these separations and to move toward predictive models to identify the best amino acid-based MM for a given separation. Poly(SULL) was found to contain six binding sites into which chiral compounds could insert. Four sites had similar sizes, shapes, and electrostatic properties. Enantiomers of alprenolol, propranolol, 1,1′-bi-2-naphthyl-2,2′-diyl hydrogen phosphate, 1,1′-bi-2-naphthol, chlorthalidone, or lorazepam were separately docked into each binding pocket and MD simulations with the resulting intermolecular complexes were performed. Solvent-accessible surface area calculations showed the compounds preferentially associated with binding sites where they penetrated into the MM core and shielded their non-polar atoms from solvent. Furthermore, with five of the six compounds the enantiomer with the most favorable free energy of MM association also experienced the most favorable intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions with the MM. This result suggests that stereoselective intermolecular hydrogen bonds play an important role in chiral discrimination in separations using amino acid-based MMs.GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT (Figure presented.).

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