Ferroelectric hydration shells around proteins: Electrostatics of the protein-water interface

David N. Lebard, Dmitry Matyushov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Numerical simulations of hydrated proteins show that protein hydration shells are polarized into a ferroelectric layer with large values of the average dipole moment magnitude and the dipole moment variance. The emergence of the new polarized mesophase dramatically alters the statistics of electrostatic fluctuations at the protein-water interface. The linear response relation between the average electrostatic potential and its variance breaks down, with the breadth of the electrostatic fluctuations far exceeding the expectations of the linear response theories. The dynamics of these non-Gaussian electrostatic fluctuations are dominated by a slow (≲1 ns) component that freezes in at the temperature of the dynamical transition of proteins. The ferroelectric shell propagates 3-5 water diameters into the bulk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9246-9258
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 22 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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