2019 Volume 16 Pages 185-195
The cosolvent effect on the equilibrium of peptide aggregation is reviewed from the energetic perspective. It is shown that the excess chemical potential is stationary against the variation of the distribution function for the configuration of a flexible solute species and that the derivative of the excess chemical potential with respect to the cosolvent concentration is determined by the corresponding derivative of the solvation free energy averaged over the solute configurations. The effect of a cosolvent at low concentrations on a chemical equilibrium can then be addressed in terms of the difference in the solvation free energy between pure-water solvent and the mixed solvent with the cosolvent, and illustrative analyses with all-atom model are presented for the aggregation of an 11-residue peptide by employing the energy-representation method to compute the solvation free energy. The solvation becomes more favorable with addition of the urea or DMSO cosolvent, and the extent of stabilization is smaller for larger aggregate. This implies that these cosolvents inhibit the formation of an aggregate, and the roles of such interaction components as the electrostatic, van der Waals, and excluded-volume are discussed.