Softness and non-spherical shape define the phase behavior and the structural properties of lysozyme in aqueous solutions
In this study, Boltzmann inversion is applied in conjunction with molecular dynamics simulations to derive inter-molecular potential for protein lysozyme in aqueous solution directly from experimental static structure factor. The potential has a soft repulsion at short distances and an attraction well at intermediate distances that give rise to the liquid-liquid phase separation. Moreover, Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate that a non-spherical description of lysozyme is better suited to correctly reproduce the experimentally observed properties of such a phase separation. Our findings shed new light on the common problem in molecular and cell biology: "How to model proteins in their natural aqueous environments?"